Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All GSM calls under threat from hackers

UK: GSM call can be listened to by anyone with $500 and a laptop within six months!

At the recent Hacking at Random (HAR) conference, Karsten Nohl detailed plans for cracking standard GSM cell phone encryption, known as A5/1, and making the results available for anyone to use.

His presentation from the event is here -- https://har2009.org/program/attachments/119_GSM.A51.Cracking.Nohl.pdf

The implications for businesses, individuals and the mobile industry are enormous:

* Once complete it means anyone with a $500 radio card and a laptop will be able to listen in to GSM calls.
* It marks a lowering of the bar for criminals to be able to hack calls.
* It makes having someone listen to our calls a real-life threat for all of us

Stan Schatt, Vice President and Practice Director, Healthcare and Security at ABI Research, commented, “Potentially this news could have as profound an impact on the cell phone industry as the breaking of WEP encryption had on the wireless LAN industry.”

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