Because it was only a matter of time, your smartphone now has its very own tinfoil hat.
Texas-based startup Vysk Communications is out to meet the privacy needs of the paranoid with its range of snoop-proof phone cases, including its premier QS1 model which will soon be available for the iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5.
Vysk’s argument is that software alone, being vulnerable to malware, cannot reliably protect your information against hackers. By utilising hardware to encrypt your calls, texts and data at the source, Vysk claims to lock down your handset against privacy breaches.
How it works
The QS1 comes with two modes of protection. With a flick of a switch, users can activate the case’s Lockdown Mode, which jams your device’s microphones and blocks both the front and rear camera via mechanical shutters.
Vysk states that the cases use an ‘internal processor’ to encrypt voice calls for everyone but the intended recipient, leaving no metadata trail and making it impossible for third parties to successfully listen in to your conversation.
Aside from the QS1 case itself, users can also subscribe to Private Call Mode for $9.95 per month. Subscribers can use this service, along with the accompanying Vysk app, to make private VoIP calls to other Vysk users over an encrypted network.
The service reportedly shuts out eavesdroppers, and includes encrypted private messaging and encryption for data including voicemail and images.
Subscribers will also gain access to anonymous call and text routing, password protection, the ability to remotely wipe their device and ‘self-destructing messages’.
Better than privacy phones?
Vysk is positioning the QS1 as a better alternative to so-called ‘privacy phones’ (such as the upcoming Blackphone and the FreedomPop Privacy Phone), as it allows you to keep the handset you already use – provided it’s either an iPhone 5s or Galaxy S5.
And distrustful types with a track record for scratching phones and smashing screens will be glad to know the QS1 also provides physical protection for your device, as well as an integrated HD audio amplifier and an in-built battery to extend your phone’s life by 120%.
While smartphone hacking is a real thing, we get the impression that the target audience for the QS1 is more NSA-fearing surveillance-phobes, rather than run-of-the-mill individuals concerned about cybercrime and identity fraud.
But if you’re interested, the cases are available to pre-order through Vysk for $229 USD each – if you’re not too paranoid to send your personal billing information over the internet.