GSM hacked for the good

The Chaos Communication Conference in Berlin lived up to its name with the news that the GSM cellphone encryption algorithm called A5/1 developed by the GSM Association had been hacked. The Chaos Communication Conference is the largest hacker conference in Europe.

German computer science expert Karsten Nohl worked with several other people over a period of months to break the code. The AS/1 code had been established over 20 years ago. The code is used by the millions of GSM phone users since it is the standard way that GSM send their signal. With the cracked code someone with about $30,000 worth of equipment could listen in on any GSM phone conversation according to Nohl.

The GSM Association who developed the code published a statement saying the groups efforts could be viewed as illegal in certain countries. But its better that Nohl and his group brought the development out in the open. The GSM Association also had its doubts that the published information could actually work in the field but its still in the process of developing a new security algorithm called A5/3.