GSM Mobile Phone Voice Call Encryption Code Revealed

One would presume any voice call made over a mobile phone would be secure, and that not just anyone with a bit of know-how could eavesdrop on a conversation, with the exception of the powers-that-be of course. The majority of mobile phone calls are protected by a 21 yr old GSM algorithm, and according to an article over on the NYT, that code has now been broken.

Apparently German computer engineer Karsten Nohl, has stated that he has managed to decipher and publish the GSM code which is used to encrypt virtually all the world’s digital mobile phone calls.

The engineer has said that he has done so to prove the weaknesses in the security of global wireless systems. Knol said during the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, that “this shows that existing GSM security is inadequate.”

The GSM Association in London, which devised the algorithm, has answered with Knol’s efforts are illegal and overstate the security threat to wireless mobile phone calls. Spokesperson for the GSM Association, Claire Cranton has said that this is theoretically possible but practically unlikely, and that what Knol is doing whilst supposedly concerned with privacy is “beyond me.”

Knol has said the algorithm’s code book is available on the internet via services such as BitTorrent, but has declined to deliver a web link to the code book due to fear of legal implications.

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