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Boeing Black: The secure, self-destructing smartphone

Posting in Technology
Boeing looks to be getting into the smartphone business.

"The U.S. defense and security communities demand trusted access to data to accomplish their missions," Boeing's website says. "Despite the continuous innovation in commercial mobile technology, current devices are not designed from inception with the security and flexibility needed to match their evolving mission and enterprise environment."

Boeing's answer: Boeing Black, a secure Android smartphone that the aerospace and defense company says can be used "across a range of missions."

The nature of the product keeps many of the security features confidential or at least very broad, like "disk encryption" or a "hardware root of trust" that "ensures software authenticity." But the really interesting information comes from documents the company filed with the FCC, as Myce discovered.

The documents say:

"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."

Here's a look at the phone:

 
 

But most of us will get about as close to this secure phone as we would a similar spy movie gadget. That's because you won't find this product on the shelves of any electronics store, as Geekwire points out. The phone is currently only available to U.S. government agencies and government contractors.   

But for those looking for a more secure smartphone, there are plenty coming to market, like this one. Still, it's important to know that even using a "secure" phone involves risk.

More information on Boeing Black here [pdf].

Photo: Boeing

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— By on February 27, 2014, 12:26 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure