Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hackers Break GSM Cell Phone Code

Financial Times: German Encryption Expert Publishes Code to Force 80% of Cell Phone Operators to Upgrade Security

(CBS) A group of hackers trying to force the cell phone industry into upgrading their security claims to have broken and published the code that keeps calls made on billions of phones secret.

According to a report in the Financial Times, German computer engineer and encryption expert Karsten Nohl told a hackers' convention in Berlin this week he had made public the encryption code protecting GSM phones in more than 212 countries - estimated at 80 percent of all the world's cell phones.

Nohl, 28, told the Chaos Communication Congress that a team of 24 hackers had managed to reproduce the code keeping GSM calls safe, proving that "existing GSM security is inadequate".

"We have given up hope that network operators will move to improve security on their own, but we are hoping that with this added attention, there will be increased demand from customers for them to do this," he the FT.

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