Blackphone App Store Promises Secure Mobile Software

by Matt Klassen on December 10, 2014

In the wake of ongoing privacy intrusions from hackers and government agencies alike, earlier this year a new collaborative mobile project sought to put user security and control ahead of everything else: Ahead of carriers, ahead of advertising…everything. It was dubbed the Blackphone, a joint endeavour from Geeksphone and Silent Circle aimed at “reshaping the landscape of personal communication” through the radical rethinking of who actually controls the mobile devices we use.

While little has been said since the phone debuted last January, it looks like the companies behind the Blackphone project are once again attempting to revolutionize the mobile market, announcing the creation of a dedicated app store that will only sell apps that have first passed a rigorous screening test.

Simply put, no matter how ironclad the Blackphone’s security features are, one errant app download and all of those layers of protection are quickly rendered moot. To combat the unintentional download of malicious malware, the Blackphone app store will adopt “the Apple model,” which will closely examine apps before releasing them to the public.

If you ever pay attention to your app downloads you may have noticed that every app asks you for permission to access certain features or tools on your phone to operate effectively. The unfortunate thing, however, is that most people don’t read the list of things an app is asking permission to access, allowing sneaky developers to slip in unnecessary permission requests to information they have no business accessing.

It’s here that the Blackphone app store’s increased security protocols will come into play, as the company is dedicated to rooting out those sorts of apps, doing some of the heavy lifting associated with maintaining privacy before the app even becomes available.

“We’ll have a few degrees of vetting,” Blackphone chief executive Toby Weir-Jones told the Guardian. “If you have an app to manage your social media accounts and it wanted access to your microphone and your camera we might ask why and get on a first screening.”

Of course the Blackphone won’t offer games or social media apps anyways, as they’re inherently too risky and thus likely aren’t for those seeking the enhanced security of the Blackphone in the first place. In fact, although the Blackphone runs a heavily modified version of Android—dubbed PrivatOS—the phone cannot access the Google Play app store, as Google doesn’t inspect apps, offering more choice but opening itself up to malware.

The Blackphone does have access to Amazon’s rival Android app store though, wherein Blackphone will establish its own app emporium, filled with selections that users can be assured have been thoroughly scrutinized and secured.

Further, corporate clients (particularly those fearful of the growing BYOD movement) will soon be able to access Spaces, a feature similar to Samsung’s Knox or Blackberry’s Balance that separates work data from personal information, a crucial feature for any corporate IT department.

In the end, if you’re looking for enhanced mobile security on a phone that holds privacy as its number one concern with apps that won’t spy on you, look no further than the Blackphone, the new standard of mobile security.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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