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Encrypted Cell Phone Hits the Market

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the tony-soprano dept.

Security 266

notshannon writes "Reuters reports about a new cell phone which automatically encrypts communications. Of course, the matching handset will decrypt the message. Security doesn't come cheap, around $4000 per pair, but it's probably as reliable as anyone in these parts could wish. Favorite quote: 'We allow everyone to check the security for themselves, because we're the only ones who publish the source code,' said Rop Gonggrijp at Amsterdam-based NAH6. Amusingly, the article cites government.nl and not nsa.gov as the world's most prolific phone tapper."

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266 comments

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512902)

Gimme some respect. Probably not by now actually

I"M GONNA ENCRYPT YORU SELL PHONE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512903)

iF U DONT" SHUT UP!

Encrypted cell phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512904)

You terrorists!

fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512906)

finally...

early pr0st! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512910)

early post

gnaa propz

Re:early pr0st! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512939)

toaster,toaster toaser, do you have toast in you yet i think [rowdyruff.net]
so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Im not a toaster!!!!!!!!!!And one more
thing........YOUR A TOASER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND A COOKIE WITH MILK SOAGE
MILK!!!!!!!!!!AND A BUTT WITH POOP IN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Boy, fetch me my brown trousers! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513058)

Better button up your assholes!

They're back! [spaceweather.com]

Re:early pr0st! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512975)

My encounter with Kathleen Fent at a party...

I remember it well...it was my junior year in high school, and Kate and I were at the same party. She had been doing rails of coke all night and swigging Jack Daniels like nothing any of us had ever seen. You could tell this was something that she had done often, as the sheer amount of intoxicants that she had been consuming did not seem to affect her one bit.

I was hesitant to approach her...she was not really the type of girl I dated usually -- I went for the cheerleader/popular girl type who you were guaranteed to at least get a blow job by the first date. Fast girls -- not the kind of girls that required at least two dates to get a kiss on the cheek and a raging case of blue balls. Yet tonight was different. I was particularly randy, and Kate was there snorting enough coke to supply a small country. She was considered to be in the geeky chick group -- the girls that weren't hot, but were tolerable enough to hang around outside of school. But I didn't care...she looked like she wanted to get fucked -- and hard.

Finally I made my move. I had made eyes with her all night and I finally went to talk to her. I came over to her and before I could get out "Hi, my name is..." she grabbed my penis and started massaging it. There was a bathroom nearby, which no one was occupying at that moment, so I motioned for her to join me in it -- she accepted.

We enter the bathroom and lock the door, and she didn't even bother to kiss me or anything -- she dropped straight to her knees and whipped out my dick, and practically swallowed it whole. I'm no John Holmes, but they don't call me tic-tac either; I'm working with a good 8 inches or so, and she deep-throated it -- just like that.

I knew there had to be a catch to this. I felt around and grabbed her crotch, only to notice that she was on her period. I wasn't sure what to do, and then I asked her if she wanted it like a dirty whore and take it in the ass. Luckily, I had a condom with me that was lubricated, but it was obvious that she had been an anal pro and had already relaxed her sphincter to the point where my cock just slid in. It was the best ass I had ever had and she loved every inch of it in her ass. I couldn't last long -- her ass was still tight, surprisingly. I pulled it out and whipped off the condom, and unleashed my white wave into her waiting mouth. She swallowed every last drop of it. After I finished, I put my pants back on and wasn't sure what to say to her, but she smiled and left the bathroom. It was like she knew that I just wanted to fuck her and leave and not say shit to her.

After the encounter in the bathroom, I didn't see her for the rest of the night. I did see her occasionally at school and we exchanged smiles, but we never mentioned our hot anal session in the bathroom at that party. I still look back on it fondly. I'll always remember that 10 minutes of fun in the bathroom with Kate.

Wow! They invented GSM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512922)

Amazing!

This is a problem.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512923)

Under the Gaytriot act, John Ashcroft is required to forcibly sodomize anyone who uses encryption.

Do what I do... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512926)

Rather than pay $4K to encrypt your phone calls, do what I do: don't have anything worth saying

Call for legislature to outlaw these phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513060)

Write to your congressman immediately, demanding that these phones become outlawed worldwide! They might be used by terrorists to plan attacks against Freedom and Civilization! Or, worse than that, they may be used for illegal file trading! A Good Citizen (TM) has nothing to hide, and will have no need for Evil (TM) tools like this.
Oh yes, I'm being sarcastic...

Re:Do what I do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513172)

Whatever happened to talking in code?

"Hello Midnight Rooster? This is Urban Paddler... The eagle has laid a silver egg, repeat the eagle has laid a silver egg, but uncle George's cookies have no sugar."

Phone Tappers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512927)

> Amusingly, the article cites here (NL) and not here (US) as the world's most prolific phone tapper.

Maybe because they're based out of Amsterdam, you insensitive American clod?!?

Re:Phone Tappers (1)

spectral (158121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513092)

Do you really think that a government agency in the netherlands is the WORLD'S most prolific phone tapper? I kinda doubt the NSA is either, but still, I'd think SOME US agency would be doing it more than any NL agency would be.

Re:Phone Tappers (1)

Mawen (317927) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513143)

Perhaps the term "prolific" isn't referring to scale, but to percentage or per-capita tapping. ...BTW, what about echelon? [echelonwatch.org]

Re:Phone Tappers (1)

jefeweiss (628594) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513202)

Ha ha hahahahahaha .... hahahaha....ha ha hooooooo.....

But seriously. The NSA isn't the world's most prolific phone tapper ... hahahaha hhaha ha ha.... That's a good one. They probably only listen in to several hundred million cell phone calls a day. That's not so much. Of course most of that is automated listening for keywords, so maybe that doesn't count.

No way. NL is up there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513293)

I'd think SOME US agency would be doing it more than any NL agency would be.

No way. The National League taps every phone call in the US. They, along with the American League, want to make sure no one is rebroadcasting baseball games without their express written consent.

And implied, oral consent doesn't cut it with those guys.

Gotta start somewhere (2, Interesting)

sbeast702 (447699) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512929)

It really doesn't matter if they are $4000... so where the original motorola brick phones. Hopefully these will give other companies ideas on how to make them better/faster/cheaper.

Re:Gotta start somewhere (1)

notoriousE (723905) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512999)

I don't think encryption on cellular phones makes much sense. It seems that the people that could really UTILIZE the encryption technologies have counterparts that would have the technologies to crack the encryption anyways (ie government agencies)

Responsibility (3, Funny)

Fux the Penguin (724045) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512935)

Wow, $4,000 per pair? That seems awfully high, but I'd imagine there are many legitimate uses of such technology, that may interest people to shell out that much cash. For instance, credit card authorization, police communication, and drug trafficking come to mind. I work for the second-largest supplier of solid-gold cell phones and pagers, which are often used by celebrities and collectively engaged urban businessmen, and I could certainly see where many of our clients would have use for this kind of device.

I am a little concerned, though, that this kind of technology might fall into the wrong hands. For instance, have the manufacturers considered the applications for which terrorists might use these? I hardly think that the NAH6 would like to see their products used to slaughter innocent Americans, or even Amsterdaminians. Encryption is certainly a worthwhile tool, but I think it's far more likely to be exploited by the wicked than the virtuous, as it's the bad guys who've got something to hind.

Perhaps I would be more supportive of NAH6 if they were to provide a backdoor for the NSA [nsa.gov] , FBI [fbi.gov] , CBS [cbs.com] and the ALF [alf.org] . These organizations, then, could catch evil-doers in the act before they can inflict massive damage to our American way of life. Truly, the only way to secure our liberty is government supervision of the most invasive sort.

Re:Responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512948)

That was an unenjoyable troll.

MOD PARENT OVERRATED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512950)

Sheer plagiarism.

Re:MOD PARENT OVERRATED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512976)

Of whom?

Re:Responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512995)

bwahahaha ALF. nice one

Re:Responsibility (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513002)

The price will eventually go down, give it time. But as for tapping, it does create a problem for the agencies that would want to listen in. They of course would not publish if there is a back door, and maybe all you need to listen is the software running on the listening device? That information would be highly secretive.

I find it funny that the Netherlands tap more phones a year. I wonder if that is true or just because half of what agencies do over here is classified. There no oversight of how many people actualy are tapped. Remember for the longest time the NSA was a very classified organization and no one even knew of its existence.

Re:Responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513186)

Most likely it is because Amerstdam is probably the drug use capital of the world. The police must go batty trying to tap the phones of everyone engaged in the illicit marajuana rings.

Re:Responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513008)

*BEWARE* explcitly dry sarcasm ahead!

Re:Responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513229)

Simple... Add a voice recognition chip wired to a small block of RDX or C-4. Say the wrong words too many times and you'll have a extra little bit of excitement added to your day.

Props to NAH6... (3, Interesting)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512937)

....for doing a PGP extension [nah6.com] to Mailman [gnu.org] .

The patch file [nah6.com] alone is 56 KB... looks like they put in some effort on that one. Pretty cool.

werd to big bird (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513209)

foshizzlemynizzle mad propz mo fo free huewee muh brovah

Re:Props to NAH6... (4, Informative)

gnu-generation-one (717590) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513262)

"for doing a PGP extension to Mailman."

PGPi itself always had the PGPFone module, which can either encrypt a telephone line (your modem dials their modem) or handle internet calls (useful for people whose families are abroad)

Download it here [pgpi.org] , including source-code.

can you hear me now? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512940)

that will become " ? nac uoy reah em won"

Re:can you hear me now? (3, Interesting)

TruelyGeeked (718423) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513100)

is it just me, or couldn't this type of thing be done using current devices with an update to the unit'ss firmware. I mean, certainly if my Toshiba CMD-9500 has the horsepower to play the latest Eminem song as a ring tone then it can do some basic encryption of my text messages and voice conversations. I'm not talking about 1024bit NSA level security, I mean just enough to keep that kid with a frequency scanner from hearing my girlfriend talk dirty to me. Just a thought.

nah (4, Funny)

Dreadlord (671979) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512945)

real /.ers don't use expensive encryption phones, they do the math themselves, and then encrypt signals by waving a magnet near the phone.

Re:nah (2, Funny)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513033)

let me see if that works on my computer. I have been looking for some good encryption. *(%$ #$&$* #$@ F* Fh982345*#%hds

Re:nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513210)

...and they get free long distance (forever!) by wrapping a comb in paper and making a PHWEET noise at the phone with it.

Limited Use? (4, Insightful)

BadCable (721457) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512947)

Doesn't this seem of limited use?

I mean if it only encrypts for other cellphones of it's type on it's network the usability is rather limited.

You might as well use encrypted walkie talkies, it's not too different when you think about it.

Re:Limited Use? (1)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513109)

Yeah but how cool would it be to say to the other owner, "better move this to a secure channel."

Re:Limited Use? (1)

spectral (158121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513191)

Your comment was more appropriate than you think. 'The other owner', since at that cost there prolly will only be two..

Re:Limited Use? (1)

borgboy (218060) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513122)

Yeah, except for the whole goes across the [nation|world]-wide telephone network part.

Re:Limited Use? (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513124)

besides it should be common sense that if you want true security you need to develop it your self. Otherwise you are trusting people like microsoft to make you secure.

I had a friend back in high school made his own encryption program, thing works like a charm. Not that hard to make an undecypherable encryption scheme.

Re:Limited Use? (1)

plierhead (570797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513131)

Duuh.. perhaps your walkie talkie might not be able to reach quite as far as the global phone network ? At least without requiring a 20 metre tall antenna that would turn your ears bright pink when you made a call ?

give it time (1)

obsid1an (665888) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513248)

You got to start somewhere. Odds are, the technology will advance to where you can connect to anyone, and then start encrypting the call assuming the other cell phone has some standard chip to do so.

How's it work? (3, Interesting)

calebtucker (691882) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512953)

So.. you buy a pair at a time and these phones can only talk to each other securely? Or is there some way to exhange keys?

Re:How's it work? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513153)

The slashdot blurb makes it sound like private key encryption, but a quick look at the article and site suggest that it is actually public key encryption. Which makes sense in my opinion. Why would I only ever want to call one other phone (with the exception of a RED phone, heh)? I simply want to send my public key, receive his, and then chat on a secure line with whomever I choose.

Re:How's it work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513176)

So.. you buy a pair at a time and these phones can only talk to each other securely? Or is there some way to exhange keys?

They do key exchange using Diffie-Hellmann; the validity of the key is confirmed by each user reading back a checksum, just like in SpeakFreely. If you don't hear the voice you were expecting, uh-oh! Perhaps they'll add PKI stuff for organizations later (people will start to skip reading out checksums...)

http://www.cryptophone.nl/html/faq_en.html
http ://www.speakfreely.org/

(no links due to keyboard fudging up quotes and such)

I for one welcome our new cryptographic overlords! (1)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512957)

Anyway, seriously, while I see the issue about cryptography preventing terrorists being phone tapped, i'm less than enthusiastic about them being able to tap just anyone.

For that matter the ability of any kid with the right equipment to pick phone conversations out of the air, like that record that got released a few years back...

Right from Yahoo! News (-1, Offtopic)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512958)

Great to see Slashdot is relevant news. Maybe MS should buy the Slashdot news page, if it wants a pile of rehashed content.

$4000? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512959)

Why would I use an encrypted cellphone for $4K when I could simply use a relatively obscure, long-distance whistle language [slashdot.org] ?

Call for legislature to outlaw these phones (3, Funny)

kavau (554682) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512964)

Write to your congressman immediately, demanding that these phones become outlawed worldwide! They might be used by terrorists to plan attacks against Freedom and Civilization! Or, worse than that, they may be used for illegal file trading! A Good Citizen (TM) has nothing to hide, and will have no need for Evil (TM) tools like this.

Oh yes, I'm being sarcastic...

Re:Call for legislature to outlaw these phones (1)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513156)

They might be used by terrorists to plan attacks against Freedom and Civilization!

Undoubtedly these phones will be used to transmit kiddie porn, too. Won't somebody please think of the children?

Re:Call for legislature to outlaw these phones (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513212)

mmmmmm, yes the children. i'll think all about them.

I'm a Republican (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7512967)

Oh, I'm a Republican
I got a small schling
I like to bomb niggahs
and make a lot o' bling

I got a bunch o' friends
in high up places
They helps me get dem
government graces.

You think I'm smart
I just know who's who
I couldn't run a fruit stand
without the red white & blue

Don't need no history
Don't need no schoolin'
I got my ideology
To keep me a shootin'

I fancy myself
A brilliant tactician
But neither me nor m'buddies
Could even pass basic trainin'

See, I'm above all that
A fightin' and shootin'
I just say "Sic em!"
Then run the other direction

Liberals! Faggots!
Commies and queers!
Socialist hippies
Full o' pussy tears!

I'll drop some crap
about Jesus the Christ
You'll buy it all
and vote for me twice

'Fact, Jesus is comin'!
Real soon, now!
So we gotta prop up Israel
That ol' sacred cow

Propaganda's m'friend
But I calls it "fact"
Even though I don't read
'Cept for Chick tracts

Facts? No! Don't need em here!
We're conservatives! We work on FEAR!
Don't like what we say?
Well FUCK YOU, bud!
We'll shove it down yer throat
and tell ya it's good!

Re:I'm a Republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513038)

There is some truth in what you say. I am an extreme right winger. I am against israel, christianity, and minorities. The republicans pretty much take the same position as the liberals on racial issues.

if this was I'm a liberal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513042)

it would be -1 flamebait.

--
Ann Coulter Troll

MOD PIZARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513237)

omg thank you. some trolls are worth havin for sure

Why not sooner? (4, Insightful)

Orien (720204) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512970)

Personally, I am flat-out amazed that this kind of thing hasn't taken off much sooner. There is a public outcry right now about "Privacy" and all kind of laws are being enacted to ensure consumer protection of personal information. So why isn't there a much higher demand from consumers for "Privacy" when it comes to data transmission and data storage? It's not like it's hard from a technology standpoint. Encrypted communications have been around since long before cellular phones. We just need more people asking for it to see this kind of thing standard in phones, bluetooth, 802.11, etc.

How are you defining prolific? (0)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512973)

If it's by a percentage rather than the actual total, please bare in mind that the population of New Zealand is not very large, it only hit 4 million this year, so all it would take is a few hundred phone taps on the lines of organised criminals and suspected terrorists to give you a relatively high percentage figure for NZ.

So, NZ might have a few hundred phone taps and the US might have a few hundred thousand. But because of their relative population sizes, you're going to call out NZ as a country that's big on tapping? Are you kidding me?

Next time, if you're going to editorialise in your story submission, at least try to be fair rather than comparing apples and oranges.

Mod me down... (1)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513010)

Doh! I must be going blind. I read the link as .nz not .nl. Simple mistake, but pretty stupid at the same time.

Nevertheless, the relatively small population of the Netherlands skews these results.

Decrypt? (0)

jabbadabbadoo (599681) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512982)

"automatically encrypts communications"

Pretty useless if it doesn't also automatically decrypt :-) Unless you're talking to your mother in law, that is.

Available in U.S.? (4, Interesting)

exhilaration (587191) | more than 10 years ago | (#7512988)

Are these available in the U.S.? The last time encrypted cell phones made the news [usatoday.com] there were no plans of selling them in the U.S.

Re:Available in U.S.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513043)

From the webpage -

Coming soon: GSMK CryptoPhone 100 US
ensuring your voice's privacy same featureset and codebase as normal GSMK CryptoPhone 100 works in any GSM 1900 network that provides data call facilities

The Microsoft-based XDA handheld computer phone (4, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513011)

The Microsoft-based XDA handheld computer phone made by Taiwan's High Tech Computer is selling for 3,499 euros ($4,121) per two handsets.

Well, since Bill IS focusing so strongly on security, I feel comfortable relaying most personal, intimate, potentially volatile information over these phones.

I also wear my Social Security number on a t-shirt, yell out the numbers of my PIN at ATMs and throw my credit cards at little children as if they were candy.

NSA vs. the Dutch (3, Interesting)

flabbergast (620919) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513035)

" Security specialists in the Netherlands said the device could threaten criminal investigation by the Dutch police, which is one of the world's most active phone tappers, listening in to 12,000 phone numbers every year."

The article states "one of the world's most active phone tappers" not "the world's most active phone tappers". The US had fairly stringent policies against phone tapping citizens (ie the police and FBI, not the NSA). I'm sure the NSA is not giving out statistics on how many wiretaps it does a year, but the NSA is (supposedly) forbidden from investigating within the US.

Does anyone else find it weird that its collectively called "the Dutch police?" Are they referring to all local law officials or some national law enforcement agency? Just curious...

Re:NSA vs. the Dutch (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513163)

The NSA can tap as many phones as it wants, by it's charter it is above certain laws. On the plus side, none of thier taps can be used against you in court.

Though if yer really bad, you may just disappear.
For some insight on the NSA I recommend The Puzzle Palace [amazon.com]

Re:NSA vs. the Dutch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513213)

After reading your article, specifically the line stating that "The US had fairly stringent policies against phone tapping citizens..." I would like to disagree with you. While the US *USED* to have fairly stringent policies, the restrictions and regulations on these policies have severy dwindled in the last few years. If you haven't done so, I suggest you research the United States of America Patriot Act (USAPA). This bullshit law pretty much gives the police and the FBI to tap the phones (cellular/mobile inlcuded, and no longer tied to ONE SPECIFIC NUMBER!!). They now have the ability to get a wiretap order (for an even longer time period than previously) based on pretty much this:

"Uh yeah... We think this guy may be contacted by someone else who may or may not be associated with a possible terrorist oganization..... we think...maybe..."

It wouldn't surprise me at all if these handsets never made it to the US market. Only terrorists and enemies of freedom have something to hide. If you're a good citizen, why the hell do you need a right to privacy?

Re:NSA vs. the Dutch (2, Interesting)

jefeweiss (628594) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513307)

They get around the prohibition on spying on citizens by hiring other governments, such as the Brits and Australians to do it for them. That's the big reason we gave them access to Eschelon to begin with.

And Eschelon isn't used for anti-terrorism nearly as much as it is used for economic, and industrial espionage. So the target market for these phones might be trade commissions, corporations, and other groups that have business secrets the US government might want to pass along to companies they are friendly with./P

I think the most prolific phone tapper is... (4, Interesting)

melted (227442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513048)

FSB, formerly known as KGB. On numerous occasions they've ordered the Russian phone companies to turn off even the weak GSM encryption and wiretapped whoever they wanted. They also release "proslushki" (wiretaps) of some politicians talking on the phone on some "independent" web sites almost weekly. BTW, in Russia they don't need the warrant issued by a court to do this. Basically every god damn cop can wiretap whoever he wants if he has the gear. Too bad the use of cryptography (except for the government-approved algorithms) is not allowed in Russia.

Re:I think the most prolific phone tapper is... (1)

vladkrupin (44145) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513152)

while I agree with the rest of what you say, this part:
Too bad the use of cryptography (except for the government-approved algorithms) is not allowed in Russia.

sounds like total BS to me. To the best of my knowledge, it has never been outlawed (in fact, I believe cryptography hasn't beed specifically addressed in any laws), and, even if it were, it is most certainly not enforced. And, as we know, a non-enforceable law is as good as no law at all.

Something to Consider (1)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513061)

"We allow everyone to check the security for themselves, because we're the only ones who publish the source code," said Rop Gonggrijp at Amsterdam-based NAH6. Gonggrijp, who helped develop the software, owns a stake in Germany's GSMK.

That sounds great, but this is a hardware device. How can we be sure the phones we buy are actually running this source code? Would we be able to compile the source code and install it into the phones?

Secure Cellular Phones (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513062)

Secure cellular phones have been available for years. They just don't sell them to the rabble. See this QUALCOMM web page [qualcomm.com] for an example.

I'm waiting for VOIP to become ubiquitous. Then there will be no carrier or FCC type acceptance to stand in the way of encryption.

The NSA Kids Page? (0)

karlandtanya (601084) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513077)

Following the link in the story, I saw this link on the NSA's main page: Kids' Page [nsa.gov]


NSA Kids page? WTF??


Mommy, I want to be a spook when I grow up.

Re:The NSA Kids Page? (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513211)

> Following the link in the story, I saw this link on the NSA's main page: Kids' Page
>
> NSA Kids page? WTF??
>
> Mommy, I want to be a spook when I grow up.

My favorite .sig of all time reads:

"NSA is now funding research not only in cryptography, but in all areas of advanced mathematics. If you'd like a circular describing these new research opportunities, just pick up your phone, call your mother, and ask for one."

digital cell phones already use encryption... (1)

muddy_mudskipper (186492) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513121)

digital cell phone towers in the US already use encryption...on their control channels.

it's called CMEA (cellular message encryption algrithm)

http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~daw/papers/cmea-cryp to 97-www/paper10.html

"Note that CMEA is not used to protect voice communications. Instead, it is intended to protect sensitive control data, such as the digits dialed by the cellphone user."

Key Exchange; Stego? (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513136)


It wasn't clear to me if these phones were simply hardwired pairs, which would mean if you lost a phone that your security would be compromised.

If each phone saved a cache of public keys from potential correspondents, and the user needed to key-in a private key to authenticate, then it would be more intersting.

Lastly, there should be a stegospeech option where the encrypted channel overlays some uninteresting drivel conversation (you know, the kind of conversation that occupies 90% of cellphone bandwidth anyway...)

Their concerns about Windows (from the FAQ) (4, Informative)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513147)

From their FAQ [cryptophone.de]

I noticed that your CryptoPhone is based on Windows CE / PocketPC. Isn't this a security risk?

The current version of the CryptoPhone runs on top of a heavily modified and stripped down Microsoft PocketPC2002 ROM. The reason is that we wanted an affordable and well researched platform that offered sufficient performance for the speech encoding and crypto functions.A Pocket PC based system was chosen as the first platform for CryptoPhone because it was the only sufficiently fast device allowed us to do software integrity protection in ROM and the stripping of unnecessary functions.

The only commercially available alternative at the time of the necessary development decision was Symbian. Symbian is even more closed source (Windows CE is open source for developers in most parts) and was available only on a more expensive hardware platform. There was (and still is) no viable mass-market Embedded Linux based hardware with sufficient performance, stability, hardware integration and availability on the market at decision time, so we were not able to pursue this alternative.

We are aware that there are risks associated with using any Windows platform and we have taken a number of measures to mitigate these risks as best we could. We removed applications, communication stacks and system parts that are unnecessary for the CryptoPhone operation and which may cause potential security problems. You should not install third party software on the CryptoPhone to prevent software based attacks on the firmware integrity. The firmware update mechanism is cryptographically secured.

*yawn* so what? (2, Insightful)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513159)

First, cell-phone encryption has AT LEAST been available (weak or otherwise) in GSM since 1990. Sure, it is crackable, but it takes hours to do... making it impractical for eavesdropping on a conversation in real-time.

Ok... let's say you're not happy with the encryption. This product will have use in every part of the world *except* the US because, I believe, encrypted voice transmission is illegal. Heck, there have even been home cordless phones available for years that would encrypt only between the handset and the base station... and you're not allowed to have them in the US for that same restriction.

So... either you're going to spend a lot of money to gain encrypted communication that you could more cheaply acquire with other technologies, or you won't be allowed to use it (in the US) without giving the government a backdoor to listen in. For $4K? Forget it.

Re:*yawn* so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513245)

this is END-to-END encryption. With GSM and CDMA, the encryption is only over the air. With these "encrypted cell phones", the conversation is encrypted from one phone all the way to the other.

What about GSM? (2, Insightful)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513181)

Wasn't GSM supposed to be encrypted as well, but the algorithm was found to be extremely trivial to crack?

How long until that happens with these technologies? I'd hope a long time, for $4000/pair.

Bush not welcome in UK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513243)

Worst. President. Ever.

How secure is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7513253)

"The Microsoft-based XDA handheld computer phone made by Taiwan's High Tech Computer is selling for 3,499 euros ($4,121) per two handsets."

So, it's MS-based... How secure can it be?

Government.nl (1)

r84x (650348) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513256)

The reason the link in the article is FUBAR is because it was spelled goverment.nl, missing the n. This one works: link [government.nl]

Mod Cellphone Encryption 'Overpriced' (0, Redundant)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7513308)

So we're basically talking $300 nice cellphone and another $3700 just for encryption? I know we're overpricing in the name of security, but doesn't that strike anybody else here as a tad extortionary??? Hard telling who their customer base will be with that sort of price tag...

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