Ex-Defense Department Deputy Creates Anti-Snowden Phone

In the age of the NSA, WikLleaks, and News Corp., everyone from average consumers to business executives to government officials is trying to figure out how to keep their private data private.

In the age of the NSA, WikiLeaks, and News Corp., everyone from average consumers to business executives to government officials is trying to figure out how to keep their private data private. One startup is offering a possible solution: a phone it says is designed to block security breaches and hacking from Edward Snowden-style access.

Produced by Washington D.C.-based Ziklag Systems, the FortressFone is an Android smartphone that uses a "proprietary three-tier solution to fully protect data and voice transmissions with government-level encryption." Rather than protecting against hackers only at a software level, what makes the FortressFone unique, according to the company, is that it features safety measures implemented at both the hardware and operating system levels.

Headed up by Stephen Bryen, a former deputy undersecretary of defense in the 1980s, FortressFone promises to protect against third-party eavesdropping by securing voice and data transmissions. “[Mobile phones] are uniquely vulnerable to security threats due to the design of the phones and their operating systems as well as the additional types of information transmitted by the devices including GPS data and text messages,” Bryen said in a statement.

Concept Rendering

It's unclear whether FortressFone can deliver on its security promises. For one, calling your product the "anti-hacking smartphone" is quite the invitation to hackers to prove you wrong. Plus, like Bryen, Ziklag's website also looks like it's from the 1980s. The specifications of the system are wonky--involving "kernel-implemented security mechanisms"--but FortressFone serves as a sign of the increasing marketability of services that protect again hacking while playing off privacy paranoia.

Mobile security is an increasingly hot commodity. Only this week, researchers revealed how Verizon devices could be hacked and turned into "mobile spy stations." It's a big reason why large companies like McAfee and Norton are gaining new life in the mobile market, and why startups like Lookout, which has raised roughly $76 million in funding, are becoming so popular.

[Brick wall image: Jannoon028 via Shutterstock]

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