Silent Circle sends 'brick' code out for unofficial Blackphones

Silent Circle, which prides itself of selling its privacy-secured Blackphone 2 cellphone, has had to issue an emergency OS push after it emerged counterfeits were being sold online.

The company, whose Blackphone 2 is set up with elements such as voice encryption, said a few weeks back that customers shouldn’t be buying their phones from "unauthorized sellers," and last week sent out a new update via its OS that would "brick" or make useless those phones which had been sold illegally.

ArsTechnica said a reader in Germany contacted the site after buying the mobile through eBay. "The Blackphone 2 I've received came in retail packaging and looks just like the one that you guys reviewed. It worked up to Silent OS 3.0.7 Silent OS, [but] 3.0.8 seems to intentionally brick the baseband on some devices."

He told the site this message came up after the update:


Upon review of the IMEI number (xxxxxxxxxxxx) you provided, it has been determined this device is not a genuine Silent Circle Blackphone 2. This device was not sold by Silent Circle or an approved vendor of Silent Circle and, therefore, we are unable to provide any further assistance.
We recommend you contact the original vendor directly for further assistance.

To purchase a Silent Circle genuine device please visit the following URL:


Silent Circle Technical Support

In a statement the company said: "Silent Circle is aware that unauthorized devices have been manufactured as Blackphones and we’re working aggressively to stop the sale of those. As we’ve counseled, it’s imperative for consumers and companies to work directly with authorized sales partners when purchasing the Blackphone 2."

The Blackphone 2 is according to its official site priced at $599, but those on eBay are selling for much less, sometimes around $100 under the real price, despite running their ads for the phones as being new or genuine.

Remote disabling of cell phones has been used extensively in developing markets to tackle counterfeits. Last May, The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority pushed ahead with a mass switch-off of phones with invalid IMEIs in order to crack down on counterfeit products across the country, following the lead of Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.

The government believes nearly half of all of its estimated 35 million phones could be fakes, a problem that is also inherent in a number African countries.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top