Cryptophone: End to End Encryption for Voice Calls

I’ve known for some time that there are special mobile and fixed line phones out there which can encrypt calls from end to end. I recently met Dr. Bj√∂rn Rupp, CEO of GSMK, a company developing such phones. While probably not of much interest for the average person, there are a lot of people out there from politicians, police, top level managers, etc. who want to be sure their call is not intercepted. Not by the government, not by a secret service, not by tech savvy reporters or nosy mobile phone company employees. All these people can get access to normal mobile calls as the only interface over which the call is encrypted is between the mobile phone and the base station (GSM) or the radio network controller (UMTS). Over all other interfaces, the call is sent without any encryption and core networks even contain standardized interfaces for law enforcement agencies to tap into calls.

The phones developed by GSMK encrypt calls end to end by establishing a data connection between the two ends instead of a normal voice call and then use a strong encryption algorithm to ensure eavesdroppers have no chance. Dr. Rupp’s business card is also the first one I’ve ever seen which contains his PGP key ID and fingerprint. Also, they’ve published the source code of their encryption algorithm on their website, so no security through obscurity. Cool stuff, I am impressed!

2 thoughts on “Cryptophone: End to End Encryption for Voice Calls”

  1. I wonder how long it will take before such encryption can be done by our regular S60 clients. Who knows? Maybe even now the phones have enough CPU power. Did you ask about this?
    This would be the real break-through. When such encryption can be achieved without dedicated equipment.

  2. I think S60 phones should have more than enough processing power for this purpose. Think about web browsing for example to https pages. The data rates required for this are much higher than for encrypting a voice call. I assume voice calls also use stream ciphers, so who knows, it could just work as an application on an S60 phone as well. Somebody just has to do it.
    TITLE: thanks
    BLOG NAME: Oksana
    DATE: 03/20/2007 11:42:09 AM
    Thanks ! That’s very interesting.

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