Beware! your mobile phone might be tapped wirelessly

Call interception through wired line is very common today, but what about wireless line, like GSM or other mobile line? wireless mobile (not WLAN, different frequency) work with encryption. The encryption works by rapidly changing the frequency used by the phone and the base station between 80 different channels. Doing so makes it very difficult for someone to intercept and listen in without very expensive hardware solutions.

Karsten Nohl, a German computer scientist, has now rendered the ability to intercept these calls much easier due to a year of hard work including 24 other people involved in encryption. The end result is the equivalent of the phone book in the form of a large table, but for encryption keys. Rather than very expensive hardware you now just need the table, a high-performance PC, and $3,000 of radio equipment to start listening in to calls. For the more serious user spending $30,000 will get you real-time snooping abilities.

Nohl used the annual hackers meet up called the Chaos Communication Congress held in Berlin to announce the encryption had been hacked. He sees it more as a way of informing users of the vulnerabilities of GSM rather than allowing call monitoring to be easier. The end result he hopes is better encryption for the calls we all make using mobile phone networks.

The GSM Association admits that the cracking of A5/1 is worrying, but also pointed out that a move to the A5/3 algorithm was currently underway and dismissed the crack as, “a long way from being a practical attack on GSM”.

Whenever we deal with technology, security concern should come along as people now are really interested to know what their neighbour is doing. Bu the main point is that, no where is secured, even facebook or YM. So, if you really want to have secured communication, just meet face-to-face, inside the self-built noise proof together with wireless jamming equipment…or just follow Osama style backword compatibility yet still out-of-radar.
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