from the duh dept
December 16, 2013
One of the latest reports from the Snowden documents over at the Washington Post falls more into the “well, duh” category than many previous reports. The NSA has easily cracked the A5/1 encryption used to encrypt mobile phone conversations on many GSM mobile networks. Of course A5/1 has been around forever, and others have shown that it’s not particularly secure for quite some time. But, it’s just a reminder that, yes, of course, the NSA could listen in on calls. Some networks do use more modern encryption, which is much harder for the NSA to crack, and it sounds like the recent revelations are leading at least some mobile operators to upgrade the encryption on their network. Still, at this point, it seems safe to assume that if you want to have a truly private conversation, you shouldn’t use a phone.