GSMA turns down the Mobile Phone Encryption Crack


GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association) states that the latest attack on the A5/1 encryption algorithm (go here for details) is not practical.

Nohl had stated at the Choas Communication Conference in Berlin that he had 2 terabytes of cracking tables that could find the encryption keys used to protect any telephone conversation.

GSMA openly declared today that this attack has been overplayed and holds no imminent threat.  GSMA spokesperson Claire Canton told eWEEK:

Over the past few years, a number of academic papers setting out, in theory, how the A5/1 algorithm could be compromised have been published, However, none to date have led to a practical attack capability being developed against A5/1 that can be used on live, commercial GSM networks.


So far, this aspect of the methodology has not been explained in any detail and we strongly suspect that the teams attempting to develop an intercept capability have underestimated its practical complexity ……… A hacker would need a radio receiver system and the signal processing software necessary to process the raw radio data. The complex knowledge required to develop such software is subject to intellectual property rights, making it difficult to turn into a commercial product.

Even before this news, GSMA had been working on better and secure standards for users.

Published by

Arnaw Kumar

Arnaw is an undergraduate who is really into hacking and modding cell phones. For him, nothing gets better than an S60 and a chance to ruin it.