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Researchers crack satellite phone encryption

Easily intercept calls
Thu Feb 02 2012, 17:14

GERMAN RESEARCHERS claim to have cracked the algorithm that secures satellite phone transmissions.

Benedikt Driessen and Ralf Hund from Ruhr University have reverse engineered the GMR-1 and GMR-2 voice ciphers used in a lot of satellite systems. These are used by, among others, government agencies and the military.

Bjoern Rupp, CEO at GSMK Cryptophone said, "This breakthrough has major implications for the military, civilians engaged on overseas operations, or indeed anyone using satellite phones to make sensitive calls in turbulent areas."

Their report is titled "Don't Trust Satellite Phones" and shows how someone with a "suitably programmed computer" and software radio capable of receiving satellite frequencies can hack calls. These include ones made by disaster relief agencies and the military.

"So by using the insight from this research, it is easily possible to listen to a huge number of confidential satellite calls from your continent with only modest technical effort," Rupp added. µ


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