GSM Encryption Broken: Now It's Not Just the Government Listening In

Up until now, EU and US GSM customers have felt relatively confident that the robust A5/1 encryption they enjoyed provided them with protection from hackers. Meanwhile, GSM users in other parts of the world have limped along with A5/0 encryption (none) or A5/2 (limited encryption). At the recent Hacking at Random conference in the Netherlands it was revealed that GSM security can be broken using PCs, not supercomputers. While it likely will take another six months before hackers are able to build a sufficiently robust table to break GSM’s A5/1 security (the highest level of security excluding Government), that should be of scant comfort to the business community and to individuals who are concerned about their privacy.

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