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Macate Unveils New Security-Focused "Cyberphone"

GATCA Elite Cyberphone Brings Boosted Security, Privacy

Macate, a Silicon Valley technology-based secure mobile communication and device maker, today unveiled a new security-focused smartphone that combines advanced security and encryption features to provide users with boosted security and privacy over most traditional smartphones currently in the market.

The new GATCA Elite cyberphone offers multiple layers of biometric and encryption security to secure the device down to the workload level, helping to protect both personal and professional information, the company says.

Based on Google’s popular Android mobile operating system, the cyberphone comes bundled with added security features, such as intelligent human authentication, advanced software encryption to prevent hacking and spoofing, dual SIM cards, and a suite of pre-loaded software and apps.

GATCA Elite cyberphone Unveiled today in Las Vegas at the CES tradeshow, Macate says the device was designed with “high-profile” individuals, corporations and government entities in mind, and is purpose-built to thwart cyber threats.

The sleek Android smartphone will compete directly with the SilentCirlce’s Blackphone, which was first released in early 2014. The company’s latest device, Blackphone 2, began shipping in Sept. 2015.  

Macate’s cyberphone offers 256-bit or 512-bit military-grade encryption, layers of biometric features, location-based protection for the device and its documents, and phone lockdown capabilities when the SIM card is removed or an unfamiliar one is inserted.

Like many smartphones, including Apple’s popular iPhone and many other Android devices, the GATCA Elite cyberphone is manufactured in China, which may raise some concerns for ultra-security minded individuals.

Asked about the potential security concerns over a device claiming the utmost level of security and privacy, a Macate spokesperson told SecurityWeek that it has strong business relationships with its supply chain partners and “a rigorous testing process to ensure no tampering has taken place.”

A “GeoLock” feature provides location-based security settings to unlock or lock the devices and/or specific files at designated locations. Additional device lockdown features help protect data in the event the mobile device is lost or stolen, or if a SIM card is removed or replaced.

The smartphone also incorporates “TrueFace” facial recognition software that leverages “liveliness detection” to lock out potential intruders attempting access the device using a 2D image.  

Pre-loaded apps bundled with the device include mail and messenger apps that provide end-to-end encryption. Additionally, a video app allows up to 20 people to join an encrypted video conference.  

While devices like the GATCA Elite cyberphone and the Blackphone do offer increased levels of security and privacy, they are far from bullet proof. Earlier today, security firm SentinelOne revealed details of a vulnerability that exposed Silent Circle’s Blackphone 1 to complete takeover, due to an open and accessible socket associated with NVIDIA’s Icera modems. The vulnerability was patched by Silent Circle on Dec. 7. By default, the Blackphone is designed to periodically check for PrivatOS updates, which are installed over-the-air (OTA). The vulnerability does not affect the newer Blackphone 2 devices.

In addition to device specific vulnerabilities, these ultra-secure smartphones are not immune to a majority of other Android vulnerabilities that surface on an ongoing basis.  

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring and analyzing trends in the enterprise IT security space and the threat landscape. In his role at SecurityWeek he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and manages several leading security conferences.