Blackphone, Phil Zimmermann, Geeksphone, Knox Security, Samsung 840 EVO-500GB, SED-self-encrypting hard drive, – RRPG026

Jim and I discuss the soon-to-be-released Blackphone – product of a collaborative effort between Phil Zimmermann (PGP) and Geeksphone. This is their way of taking back privacy for consumers in wake of the NSA revelations. We also talk about Knox Security for the GS4, the SED technology found in Samsung’s 840 EVO 500GB SSD, hacked Internet-connected appliances, McAfee’s rebranding by Intel which is a good idea considering snafu’s McAfee has had in the past which includes a virus definition update that quarantined a critical Windows system file rendering the OS unbootable, and more.

Listen Mobile:

Intel ditches McAfee name for Intel Security

The McAfee brand name will be replaced by Intel Security, according to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. Considering some of the snafus McAfee has had over the years and the fact that it has long been associated with bloatware and actually breaking computers, this is probably the best this that could happen.

If you hadn’t already heard, John McAfee is currently a person of interest in a year-old murder in Belize. He’s also done a nsfw YouTube video making fun of uninstalling McAfee AntiVirus software –  You heard me say the video is nsfw, right? You’ve been warned!


SilentCircle (Phil Zimmermann of PGP fame) & Geeksphone have teamed up to create the soon-to-be-released BlackPhone, an Android-based smartphone which uses the PrivatOS operating system. The OS features built-in, continuous encryption for voice communications, email, messaging, and other user data. This is one company’s answer to all the NSA snooping that’s been going on. Read more here:

GS4 – Knox Security

The last major AT&T OTA update on my Galaxy S4 smartphone included Knox Security which could neither be disabled nor uninstalled. Knox Security is aimed at the enterprise and is intended to make Android phones safe for the workplace. Knox says it adds a layer of security between business apps and your personal apps. Knox described this as ‘containerization’. That’s all well and fine except the program currently sports a security flaw that gives hackers ‘easy’ access to communications data, email, messaging, and other personal info. Of course…
Also part of Knox Security is Customizable Secure Boot which prevents any alteration to the ROM. No root for you!

I’ve been using CPU World as a nice alternative to I’ve found the easiest way to use the site is to do a google search like this: i7-2600 vs i7-4770

CPU World gives you a ton of various metrics and benchmark comparisons.

Samsung 840 EVO – 500GB

SED – self-encrypting drive

  • hardware-based encryption w/o the overhead of software-based encryption
  • transparent to the user
  • technology is not new; previously available with spinning drives
  • MEK – media encryption key which is always active
  • KEK – key encryption key – this is optional. When set, the user must provide the KEK before the boot process can continue
  • Once set, if you destroy the KEK, all drive data is permanently permanently encrypted, thus safe from prying eyes. No need to run DBAN for hours!

Check out this great article about SED technology at ComputerWeekly:

How does an SED work?
The encryption key used in SEDs is called the Media Encryption Key (MEK). Locking and unlocking a drive requires another key, called the Key Encryption Key (KEK) supplied by the user (or the platform, or the network).
As the name implies, the KEK is used to encrypt or decrypt the MEK. The KEK is never stored in plaintext inside the drive. If no KEK is set, the drive is always unlocked and appears not to be encrypting even though it is. If a KEK is set, the drive will power up locked until the correct KEK is given to the drive by the user.

W8.1 preview expires

I was caught off guard by the expiration of W8.1 preview, but since then I’ve installed the full version of W8.1 so I’m good to go. While I know this is not a new feature, I used W8.1’s built-in ability to mount ISO’s for the first time so I could install Office 2013. The ISO appeared as a disc in a new DVD drive in Windows Explorer. Cool.

A shout out to…

I picked up a new (used) i7-2600 system (mobo, proc, hsf) from pcdoc, Mike Faucher. It was a great deal on some great equipment. Thanks, Mike!




Rich’s RPG is a podcast hosted by Jim Collison and Rich O’Neil in Google+ Hangout. We talk tech with like–minded folks, covering stuff that’s interesting to us. No outlines, no agenda, no worries. And we welcome newcomers. Got your headset and a bit of free time? Join us on the show by contacting us at: or

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