[FoRK] looking for a secure dumbphone

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu May 30 05:25:36 PDT 2013

On Wed, May 29, 2013 at 02:26:16PM -0700, Stephen Williams wrote:

> I doubt the feature phones are actually more secure than mainstream
> phones, assuming you don't load malware.  There were many early bugs
> in bluetooth etc. that provided full access to some of those.

Unless these come with hidden OTA firmware update it would
be way difficult to plant malware OTA. I also don't want
GPS in there, though a camera would be nice. 

All the smart stuff would be sitting a tablet, and
connect via a MiFi AP. 
> Soon, there will be no such thing as a dumb phone if you don't
> include low-end Android in "dumb phone".  A year ago, certain

I realize.

> companies were producing phones with older / minimized processors
> that were targeted for $100 without subsidy.  That's likely gone way
> down, plus there is likely a flood of now-obsolete phones for
> nothing.

It might make sense to buy a good steel keyboard Nokia used.
The older the design the less probability for backdoors.
> Keyboards wear out and use a lot of screen real estate. Capacitive

I need deterministic response times and tactile feedback.
Some keyboards are pretty much unkillable.

> touch screens don't.  There are many bluetooth keyboards, perhaps
> that is a solution.

I would be able to use a glass keyboard on the tablet, but
I very rarely use it. I would probably use a Twiddler, but
there are no Bluetooth chording keyboards as far as I know.
> There are some waterproof phones and tablets.  Sony is about to
> start selling a waterproof tablet in India.

This is good to know, I've been waiting for something like that.
> Tracking the sweet spot of low-price vs. functionality would be interesting.
> For many, a mobile phone is their communications / computer /
> Internet / banking / government access.  At some point, they are
> going to be willing to spend at least as much as they do on
> transportation and a significant fraction of housing and food to be
> enabled.  This does not point toward continued barely-usable feature
> phones.

At this point I expect to use a headset for telephony, probably
a hacked Google Glass or similar.

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