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NSA boffin releases mobile security software

Obama: Blackberry
with NSA security

The former head of the National Security Agency's Advanced Secure Communication Lab has launched a new product designed to foil cell phone hackers.

According to Michael Franco, who led the team that designed the software used to secure President Obama's Blackberry mobile from snoops, the new offering from his company, Safe and Secure Mobile, blocks the leakage of information from a cell phone.

The software, Ultimate Armor App, which can be pre-ordered from the company's Website for $5.99, is based on the same code used in the president's phone. In addition to a Blackberry version, Safe and Secure is also offering an Android version, and it expects to release a Symbian edition at the end of August.

After Ultimate Armor is installed on a cell phone, it remains invisible to the mobile's owner, the company explained. It is not displayed in the application list, user menus or user settings.  Instead, it resides silently in he handset, undetectable even against sophisticated voltage monitoring methods.  The software continuously and unobtrusively monitors all attempts to open data ports and continuously blocks these attempts.

"With the recent revelations about the News of the World phone hacking scandal, concerns about mobile phone security is no longer a rhetorical abstraction or only the problem of the rich and famous," Franco said in a statement. "Anyone who uses a mobile device is at risk."

"With relative ease," he noted, "an employee of a media company can monitor, edit, and intercept cell phone communications. However with Ultimate Armor App installed, intercepting and monitoring of any type on the cell phone is impossible. The SSM software is setup in such a way that it can immediately identify any surveillance program and instantly remove the program and further block and close the phone's leaking data ports."

He boasted that his software surpasses all known technologies for protecting mobiles. "If the public had known about [this] solution, situations such as the Rupert Murdoch event would quite simply never have been able to occur for it would have been impossible to monitor the phones with the application installed," he declared.

Franco is joined at Los Angeles-based Safe and Secure by Frank Cole, who, according to the company, brings to the outfit a unique depth and breadth of building and analyzing secure communication platforms and software development.  Cole has served as an adjunct instructor for the National Cryptologic School, where he earned multiple certificates in Electronic Warfare/Signals Intelligence and Cryptologic Analysis.

"Newer technologies, especially mobile technology, have become as powerful as that in many desktop computing systems," he said in a statement. "The information that they hold, however, is as much or more personal and valuable to a would-be hacker and presently easier to attack."

"Mobiles are the big targets of tomorrow and to a great degree, as shown in recent media, significant targets of today," he added. "This is just the beginning because as we transition more of our daily lives to our phones and tablets, the higher value of a target they become. They must be protected and that is where we come in."


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