Even if it came in this retail packaging, beware of Blackphones bought from unauthorized sellers—Silent Circle is trying to disable them. (credit: Sean Gallagher)
On January 16, the makers of the Blackphone 2 warned would-be customers to stay away from eBay.
Silent Circle, the company behind the privacy-focused smartphone with encrypted voice services, issued an alert about purchasing devices from unauthorized resellers. Now that alert has now turned into action with the latest update to Silent OS, the Android-based operating system built for the Blackphone.
Silent OS 3.0.8 will disable phones that were not purchased through Silent Circle’s approved channels.
A reader in Germany contacted Ars after the update “bricked” his phone, which he had purchased through eBay. “The Blackphone 2 I’ve received came in retail packaging and looks just like the one that you guys reviewed,” the reader told Ars. “It worked up to Silent OS 3.0.7 Silent OS, [but] 3.0.8 seems to intentionally brick the baseband on some devices.”

Silent Circle bricks “grey market” Blackphones with OS updateThe owner of a Blackphone 2 purchased through an eBay seller got this unwelcome message after the latest Silent OS update.

Silent Circle’s support site doesn’t list any details for Silent OS 3.0.8. Release 3.0.7 was issued on December 29, 2016 to catch up with Android security notices and to make some tweaks to features.
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