The Dutch secret service “Algemene Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst” (AVID) has kicked off a program to equip ministers with ‘safe phones’ on foreign trips to thwart attempts by hackers to intercept their communications.
The dumbed-down Tiger/S 7401, developed by a company called Sectra, resembles an old-school Nokia handset with physical buttons and nothing but call & text features.
“Sectra Tiger/S 7401 has been developed to provide mobility and flexibility to those individuals and organizations handling high-level classified information,” the vendor says on its website. “It has been designed to resist attacks from any source, making it the optimal choice for foreign missions and government organizations on a ministerial level.”
Built on dedicated hardware and leveraging a smart card for user authentication, Sectra Tiger/S 7401 is approved up to classification level SECRET in the Netherlands and the European Union, with NATO SECRET approval pending. The phone supports no third-party apps and has no Internet connection whatsoever.
A Tiger/R model is also available. Essentially a Samsung smartphone, the Tiger/R is a RESTRICTED-level voice and text communication device.
These “safe phones” are for ministers to take with them on official trips to “difficult countries,” according to dutchnews.nl. Prime Minister Mark Rutte reportedly already uses one at all times. Home Affairs Minister Kajsa Ollongren and Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld are less attached to them, but they still rely on the devices to communicate with the security services, the report notes.