It could be the ultimate spyphone – and even the head of the NSA is a fan.
Developed by Boeing and the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Boeing Black phone is designed for secure communication between governmental agencies and their contractors.
The handset can even self destruct if it is tampered with, destroying all the data on it, and is so secure that Boeing will only sell it to ‘approved’ purchasers.
One of those approved to use the device is NSA head and Cyber Command chief Adm. Michael Rogers, said Department of Defense Information Networks head Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, who revealed toDefence One Rogers is one of a select few to have the device.
‘The Boeing Black is the device we’re currently working with,’ Lynn said.
‘We’re just now in the test phase.’
Blackberry confirmed the existence of the project last year – but refused to reveal any more information.
‘We’re pleased to announce that Boeing is collaborating with BlackBerry to provide a secure mobile solution for Android devices utilizing our BES 12 platform,’ BlackBerry’s ex-CEO John Chen said on a conference call held to discuss its quarterly results in 2015.
‘That, by the way, is all they allow me to say.’
The Boeing Black device encrypts calls and is aimed at government agencies and others that need to keep communications and data secure.
It uses dual SIM cards to enable it to access multiple cell networks and can be configured to connect with biometric sensors and satellites.
Lynn confirmed the Boeing Black works with ‘a large amount of encryption.’
However, he said it was its ability to keep data on servers rather than on the handset that made it attractive.
‘There’s nothing that lives on the devices,’ he explained.
The system works by using the handset to access a remote server on the military’s Top Secret JWICS network.
The phone itself just send keyboard, mouse and other signals to the ‘real’ server.
said Lynn: ‘We’re not too worried about losing data,’ at least not off the phone,’ aid Lynn.
He also admitted he thought his boss liked that handset.
‘I think he does,’ he told Defence One.
‘Haven’t heard any complaints.’
‘The phone will be sold primarily to government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies that are related to defense and homeland security,’ Boeing says.
It plans to limit the sale of the device to ‘approved’ buyers.
‘The device will be marketed and sold in a manner such that low level technical and operational information about the product will not be provided to the general public.’
Even if approved, buyers will have to sign an agreement agreeing to keep their details of the phone secret.
‘Specifically designates and protects as ‘proprietary information’ the components, hardware, Product Software, applications, functionalities, or internal structure or workings of the Product provided by Seller, including without limitation those that can be obtained by disassembling or opening the Product or its software or components.’
It also reveals that the handset will be completely sealed, and any attempt to open it will destroy the phone and delete all the data on it.
‘There are no serviceable parts on Boeing’s Black phone and any attempted servicing or replacing of parts would destroy the product.
‘The Boeing Black phone is manufactured as a sealed device both with epoxy around the casing and with screws, the heads of which are covered with tamper proof covering to identify attempted disassembly.
‘Any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable.’