Monday 20 September 2021

Ministers given ‘safe phone’ to keep hackers at bay on foreign trips

No access to Tinder or Candy Crush for travelling ministers.

The Dutch security service AIVD has developed a ‘safe phone’ for ministers to take with them on official trips to ‘difficult countries’.

The Sectra Tiger, which resembles a pre-smartphone era Nokia, has been designed with deliberately low-tech specifications to make it harder for hackers to intercept them.

It has no internet connection or facility to install apps, and ministers can only communicate by calling or sending text messages. Limited data transfer is also available via secure networks.

Prime minister Mark Rutte carries one of the phones at all times, while home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren and defence minister Ank Bijleveld use them to communicate with the security services.

In future all ministers travelling to countries such as Russia and Iran will be issued with a Tiger and told to leave their regular phone at home.

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