David Papp Blog

Self-destruct phone developed by Boeing and BlackBerry

Just like in a James Bond or Mission Impossible movie, Boeing and Blackberry are working together to develop a smartphone that self-destructs if tampered with. This new phone is based on Boeing’s Android-based high security smartphone and is geared towards the security and defense communities. The Blackphone will encrypt calls to other supporting phones utilizing the BES 12 platform (BlackBerry Enterprise Service). These secure calls will support other devices such as Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

Also supported in the phone are dual SIM cards to access multiple cell provider networks. They are also incorporating the ability for satellite communication and biometric sensors.

It should be noted that this isn’t going to explode or burn, but rather all data on the phone will be erased.

23 thoughts on “Self-destruct phone developed by Boeing and BlackBerry”

  1. Er… Isn’t that what already happens when you “secure” your phone with some kind of service or security app? I’m honestly asking to know ’cause I’ve never used any of those kind of apps – I don’t keep sensitive data apart from my contacts list on my smartphone, so I never saw a need for such an app/solution.

    In other (really-really-old) news, of similar interest for whomever cares most about his security, there are Hard Disk Drives on the market that actually do self destruct. It’s not smartphone-related, but it is security-related and data-related, and I guess we keep way more data in our PCs, so… Yeah… If you want top security for your computer, search around for them – they have a mechanism that actually smashes their platters (“the discs inside the box we call a hard disk”, were data is actually stored) if someone tries to tamper with them in any way.

  2. Well this is pretty cool, but aren’t there a million apps out there that basically do exactly that?
    (I just noticed ducklord has said this too, glad I’m not the only person who noticed lol)

    Here’s a the google page teaching you how to do a remote wipe on an android phone:

    Also, it would be so awesome if you could actually make the phone explode. (Terrible idea though)

  3. Haha, wow, this is some James Bond mission impossible stuff.

    I don’t really know why this would be necessary however. Maybe for people with alot of secrets? Or CIA/FBI agents? But other than that, it really seems excessive. Don’t know why this would be sold to the public.

    Also, thank god it doesn’t explode or burn up. (It’s so ridiculos in movies, why would they ever have to do that just to erase data? Jeesh..)

    Cool article, thanks. 🙂

    • Well, I guess people take this as an extra security measure if they lose their phones. I don’t know why just a passcode wouldn’t be enough, but if I lost my phone and had no passcode, even though I was stupid enough to not have a passcode in the first place, I wouldn’t want the thief to have access to all my personal information that I have on my phone, and I’d want to delete every little detail about me from the phone so that my bank account information wouldn’t be stolen, etc.

      • Sorry, I can’t edit my comment, it seems.

        I should have also mentioned that iPhones already had this feature for years. I, luckily, never have had to use this feature, but it’s been in use by phone manufacturing companies for a few years now.

        I can definitely see why someone would want to use it, and why it’s available to the public.

  4. I am also sure that stuff like this already exists, and I wonder whether there will be an NSA backdoor 😛 ! I think that it not blowing up ruined my dreams but I am pretty sure that they will overwrite all data with “blank data” instead of just erasing it like you might do with your Windows Recycle Bin.

  5. Interesting. Although the prospect of multiple SIM cards is more intriguing to me than the the security aspect. You can never really clear ALL the data from a storage device and there are already quite a few apps out there that do this already, so I don’t really see this as a huge step forward.

    • Phones that supported using two SIMs at the same time aren’t something new – you could find them even ten years ago! What would be interesting, though, is if those “security features” mentioned here have also something to do with dual SIMs. I dunno, like, destroying them, so a thief couldn’t get his hands on your contacts list stored there.

      I know “contacts aren’t usually stored in the SIM anymore”, but hey, I’m just trying to find a reason for this whole thing to exist – since the “security features”, as I mentioned in my previous comment, aren’t exactly “new” from what we know up to now about it.

      • I have a feeling RIM is just trying to market their phone to take advantage of recent media hype surrounding security in general. You look at the stories involving hackings at Sony, cell phones being compromised and pictures stolen, wire taps and all this is just feeding general paranoia about the topic.

        As usual, much of it is ill-informed, but I guess it makes sense that RIM can start harping on some of their security features and hopefully push a few units on governmental agencies looking to do a hardware refresh.

        • You are absolutely correct and, for some reason, I hadn’t “made that connection” when I first read about it! Yep, security has become kind of a buzzword lately, and products related to it are appearing like mushrooms.

          Had you heard about McAfee’s device (as in McAfee “the man”, not the company he started and then sold that shared his name) that would “provide encrypted secure internet access without any kind of input from the user” (or something like that)? It had appeared almost exactly after the last Sony hack.

          And now, we see a new hack and a new similarly “safe” device, from someone else. Good catch, sir. Kudos 🙂

  6. This is so funny. There are about a million and one apps out there that do just exactly that but okay.. If they think it was worth their time and effort. I am wondering how popular this is going to get. I don’t think too much because everyone has already got used to the apps that why do they need to purchase this specific phone. Anyway. I am curious. lol

    • Well the idea is that the app isn’t necessary and that it can be centrally managed from the BES server. This means a corporate issued phone can be completely controlled by the company in the event it is lost, stolen or compromised.

      This can be important in some industries where even your contact list can be worth money, not just intellectual property in your emails/pictures/history.

      • Well how would this be faster though? By the time anyone realizes it’s lost, it does not take more time to use an app, does it?

        Or is it like that phone in Sherlock where you have three shots at a password and if you try to open it mechanically it just destroys itself?

  7. Isn’t mobile wiping pretty much one of the major selling points of BES in the first place? I mean, even Microsoft Exchange has a security policy that allows for remote wiping of a phone should it become compromised or lost, so I would imagine BES, which supposedly always has security at the forefront should have included this feature from way back.

    • Yes, exactly that. Maybe they have a new spin on an old trick. But I expect to be able to wipe my phone, or have it wiped if it’s stolen.

  8. Hahaha, sounds like something I would have needed a few years back. Right now I already got an application that locks down and enables shouting sirens in case the phone is ever tampered with. This makes it incredibly hard to steal the phone because the sirens are way too loud to be ignored and the phone cannot be turned off unless a PIN code is manually entered into it.

    Sounds like Boeing and BlackBerry are a few years back to me but I guess having that feature implemented directly into the phone makes the hassle less troublesome because you won’t need to download any third party applications anymore.

    Good stuff.

  9. I’m not impressed, you can erase data remotely with some apps, not to mention a ton of other security features and apps available now. The duel sim feature is pretty cool but yea, its ancient technology. It would have been cooler if the would actually explode, but that would turn the phones into weapons which I’m pretty sure no government would allow.

  10. Oh it definitely sounds like something from a Bond film. Isn’t it already possible to carry out a remote wipe though? Whilst this is a great idea security-wise, I imagine the ease with which data can be wiped may create some security issues of its own. Interesting to see Boeing working on different technology.

  11. I am not to hooked about it.

    Apple has a similar feature for iPods, iPhones, and iPads where you can erase data to keep your phone safe, similar to what this does. I don’t think they need a whole new phone for it, but just a system update that contains it.

    I like how it does it if it is tampered with, though. You may never know if a thief has attached a digital tracking device, or changed some system options while you set your phone down on the beach, and was not looking. All it requires is a tiny chip to the SD slot, or even charger spot nowadays.

  12. I honestly thought this was already a thing. It doesn’t seem like it would be all that hard to create a phone that was tamper proof. At least not with their funding.Hopefully at least some of what is learned will trickle down to your average consumer.

  13. Is it wrong I wish it actually did self-destruct just so I could feel like 007? But I wonder what constitutes as the device recognizing something as tampering. It could be both a positive and negative feature, as sometimes phone’s can be the best thing to retrieve by law enforcement for finding evidence vital to a crime.

  14. Lol, when I first read the title of this article I was actually thinking they were working on a phone that actually exploded.. like a mini explosion! LOL, but then I was thinking: ”uhm, I wonder how these guys will avoid getting sued if something goes wrong”. After reading this article I felt kinda silly, but if I’m not mistaken you can already delete every single things in your mobile if it gets lost or stolen… specially if it’s an android one. All you need to do is log in with your e-mail into Google and do it from there.

  15. As others said, it’s a great thing that Blackberry is adding more protection to their phones but there are already a lot of ways to do this thing already.
    Still, they can implement something revolutionary with this feature. I’m really curious!

Comments are closed.