Guide to Breaking Cell Phone Security Revealed
Dec 30, 2009
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A German security expert has raised the ire of the cell phone industry after he and a group of researchers posted online a how-to guide for cracking the encryption that keeps the calls of GSM-standard cell phone users secret.

According to an AP report, Karsten Nohl, said he and around the world created a codebook showing how to get past the GSM encryption used to keep conversations on more than 3 billion mobile phones safe from prying ears.

The AP report said the purpose was to push companies to improve security. The collaborative effort put the information online through file-sharing sites.

The GSM Association, a trade group that represents nearly 800 wireless operators, said it was mystified by Nohl's rationale, said the AP report.

Claire Cranton, a spokeswoman for GSM Association, said that "this activity is highly illegal in the UK and would be a serious RIPA offense as it probably is in most countries."

The report said that Nohls' effort undermines the 21-year-old algorithm used to ensure the privacy of phone calls made on GSM (global system for mobile communication) cell phone networks.

Nohl said the codebook was compiled and posted online not for malicious intent but as a call to the cell phone industry to improve the level of security for those who use GSM phones that are found worldwide and offered through numerous network providers, the report said.

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