Security researchers theoretically crack 3G encryption

Security researchers from the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel said they have developed a theoretical attack that hacks the encryption used to protect 3G phone calls.

The researchers said the attack can crack the A5/3 encryption system in two hours using the processing power of one PC. According to the research notes, the "unoptimized implementation on a single PC recovered about 96 key bits in a few minutes and the complete 128 bit key in less than two hours."

The news comes days after German engineers made similar claims pertaining to the A5/1 encryption method used on 2G GSM handsets.

While these encryption cracks are theoretical in nature, the news does pose questions about the approach being taken with 3G encryption. The A5/3 encryption system--known as Kasumi and a derivative of the Misty crypto method--was modified for use with 3G handsets.

The A5/3 algorithm is already implemented in about 40 percent of three billion available handsets. Once fully adopted, the algorithm will becoming one of the most widely used cryptosystems in the world.

For more:
- check out this telecoms.com article

Related articles:
Hacking of GSM calls possible within weeks, claim researchers
Security firm demoed hacking and eavesdropping on IPhone mobile VoIP calls
VoIP, Skype get EU heat over lawful intercept
Skype tapping program code released

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