Here comes the most secure smartphone in the world

Later this year, John McAfee plans to launch a smartphone which boasts such tight levels of security that it’s streets ahead of the likes of the Blackphone.

The security expert (who founded the eponymous antivirus company – which is now a standalone firm separate from Intel, incidentally) talked to Newsweek about the handset, which he said was the result of ‘enormous investment’.

The John McAfee Privacy Phone – someone certainly likes using their own name in their creations – is an Android handset which will not just sport software security features, but also hardware measures.

The latter will include a bank of switches on the rear of the device which allow the user to actually physically disconnect components such as the antennas for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and also the battery, camera, and microphone.

McAfee also noted that the phone would be prevented from connecting to a Stingray or other IMSI-catcher device (used for surveillance and tapping into nearby mobile phones), and that it would contain “a web search anonymiser”.

Further security features weren’t detailed, and neither were any specs – these won’t be revealed until the week before its launch, which is expected to be later this year, as mentioned.

Light years ahead

McAfee told Newsweek that: “[The phone] is not hack proof but it does give the user enormous power over his or her privacy and it is light years ahead of the Blackphone or any other phone claiming to be secure.”

The bad news? The John McAfee Privacy Phone (which will be released by McAfee’s firm MGT) will be priced at $1,100 (around £850, AU$1,470), which makes even Apple’s prices look cheap.

That’s mainly because this is a phone aimed at business users who really need that extra-tight security – although well-off consumers who truly value privacy may also be interested, of course.

A second incarnation of the phone will apparently be out in the summer of 2018, with McAfee claiming this will be as “hack proof as humanly possible”.

The sequel probably won’t be called the John McAfee Even More Privacy Phone.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).