Silent Circle announced on Thursday, Feb. 26, that it has purchased GeeksPhone's 50 percent stake in SGP Technologies, a joint venture by the two companies that developed the Blackphone, a niche smartphone that aims to shield its user from government surveillance and cyber attacks from other parties.

The acquisition will give Silent Circle 100 percent ownership of SGP Technologies, allowing for "operating efficiencies" and an "integrated product road map" as the Geneva, Switzerland-based company develops new privacy-focused hardware and software for enterprise clients with a new line of hardware, software, and services that Silent Circle plans to debut at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain next month.

Among the new products to be unveiled in March is what Silent Circle claims to be the "world's first privacy ecosystem" for enterprises. Silent Circle president and CEO William Conner said that the ecosystem will be unique because it will run on a fundamentally different architecture, the ZRTP cryptographic-key agreement protocol.

"There are companies that have been hacked and there are those that don't know about it yet, which means that security in the traditional sense has failed us," said Conner. "With the number of employees connecting to an enterprise's network using their own devices rapidly rising, organizations need a different solution."

Just last week, a document from the Edward Snowden archive was published by The Intercept claiming the Government Communications Headquarters aided by the National Security Agency successfully got away with the encryption keys of millions of SIM cards sold by Gemalto to more than 450 wireless carriers in the world, making it one of the biggest threats to mobile security.

"In a post-Sony and Gemalto world, security breaches have been made both enterprise and personal so it's no longer an issue affecting the boardroom," Connor said.

At last year's MWC, Silent Circle and GeeksPhone unveiled Blackphone, a security-minded mobile device that runs on a customized version of Android called PrivatOS and features communications apps, such as Silent Phone and Silent Text, which may not be as user-friendly as more popular alternatives but are more secure. Obviously, the $600 phone is not as popular as the iPhone, but the firm says it has raised $50 million in a new round of funding, which means investors are optimistic in the future of Blackphone.

"Silent Circle has brought tremendous disruption to the mobile industry and created an integrated suite of secure enterprise communication products that are challenging the status quo," said Silent Circle co-founder and executive chairman Mike Janke. "This first stage of growth has enabled us to raise approximately $50 million to accelerate our continued rapid expansion and fuel our second stage of growth."

In 2014, Silent Circle raised $30 million in a private equity fund led by Ross Perot Jr. and Cain Capital.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.