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GPRS code Cracked

GPRS LOGO

German Researcher Karsten Nohl from SRlabs is continuing his best efforts to make  mobile operators to improve the security of their networks by releasing software patches that can turn phones more secure.

He planned to release the software during a presentation at the Chaos Communication Camp 2011 in Finowfurt, Germany, Berlin.

The Crack

Karsten was able to intercept and decrypt data sent over mobile networks using GPRS using a cheap Motorola that he modified and some free applications, according to The New York Times. He was able to read data sent on T-Mobile, O2 Germany, Vodafone, and E-Plus in Germany because of weak encryption used, and found that Telecom Italia’s TIM and Wind did not encrypt data at all, while Vodafone Italia used weak encryption, according to the report.

The Cure

According to the Karsten’s website :-

Short term protocol patches already exists that make cracking much harder by not disclosing known plaintext unnecessarily (3GPP TS44.006, Section 5.2). These patched should be deployed with high priority. In the long term, GSM (2G) will not provide sufficient security and stronger alternatives such as UMTS (3G) and LTE (4G) should be preferred.

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