GSM phone calls hacked with free open-source tools

By Posted 29 Dec 2009, 13:34

As we all know GSM is a standard used by most cell phones in the world, but did you know with the right equipment your cell phone conversations can be listened too, along with some free software. This shocking discovery was made at the recent Chaos Communication Conference in Berlin.

According to PC World, Karsten Nohl managed to collect 2 terabytes of data; he then set about cracking tables and an encryption key used to make GSM more secure. Nohl could have carried on and released his cracking device, but thought better of it.

The analyst said that he used information to crack GSM that is already available to academic circles. It is no secret that spying in on cell phone calls is illegal in most countries, but these tools are already available to law enforcement. However, Knoll suggests that criminals are using these same tools as well.

The reason why GSM is easy to crack is due to a 20-year-old encryption algorithm, one that is used by most cell phone carriers. We do not have to fear most people listening in on our conversations though; you first have to have an understanding for code as well as $30,000 for the hardware.

Even discussing cell phone hacking is considered illegal, Knoll had to get special permission to do so. However, it is hoped that this information will help to make GSM more secure in the future.

For more details, visit PC World.

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