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Euronews: DT Bolsters Mobile Voice Security

Ray Le Maistre
12/10/2013
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  • Deutsche Telekom AG has deployed the A5/3 encryption standard to make voice communications on its mobile networks, including GSM (2G), more secure. The move, prompted by consumer trust concerns following the disclosure of interceptions by the US government's National Security Agency (NSA), "means conversations are better protected against wiretapping, even in the GSM network." Nationwide implementation is expected to be complete by the end of 2013.

    DT had previously deployed A5/3 encryption in Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, and the Czech Republic and says it will now also be enacted in other countries where it offers mobile services. Mobile network security is an increasingly hot topic, as coverage from the recent Mobile Network Security Strategies conference showed. (See Euronews: Merkel's Mad as Hell at NSA and Mobile Network Security Strategies show coverage.)

  • Alcatel-Lucent has won a deal to provide Belgian public transport operator STIB with network equipment and support services for the construction of an optical transport network that will connect 70 metro stations in Brussels. Amongst the deliverables are AlcaLu's 1830 Photonic Service Switch and 5620 Service Aware Manager. For the full details, see this press release.

  • Norway's recent mobile spectrum auction raised 1.78 billion Norwegian krone (US$290.7 million) from three successful bidders -- TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN), Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN), and the previously unknown Telco Data. For details of who paid for what, see this announcement from regulator Norwegian Post & Telecoms Authority (NPT).

    As noted in a previous Euronews, Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) failed to win any spectrum, leaving it in a precarious position. Now the Norwegian market is awash with speculation that Telco Data, which is backed by Ukrainian-American billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, could forge a partnership with Tele2, reports Reuters.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is acquiring a majority stake in DL Groupe GMG SA, a provider of IP-based managed unified communication and collaboration services in the French-speaking region of Switzerland. (See Swisscom Buys Unified Comms Specialist.)

  • Telekomunikacja Polska SA (TPSA), the Polish national operator owned by Orange (NYSE: FTE), is asking 2,950 of its employees to take voluntary redundancy as the carrier seeks to cut costs, reports Reuters. The operator, which has been struggling in a highly competitive market that is subdued by macro-economic conditions, employs about 20,500 staff currently.

    In other news:

    — Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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    pdonegan67
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    pdonegan67,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    12/10/2013 | 1:13:52 PM
    Re: Will this make a difference?
    As a world leader in mobile network security, Deutsche Telekom is just being uber-careful about the security of the GSM interface. Not coincidentally, the global center of research into breaking the original A5/1 is actually in Germany. Unless of course you also include the NSA....(how did they tap into Mrs Merkel's phones calls by the way?).

    Very, very, - but very - few people have the smarts and the resources and the willingness to face prosecution to go about trying to crack the A5/1. This is just an extra uber layer for DT.

    Doubling up on encryption standards was subsequently built into 3G W-CDMA and now LTE as standard so now we think nothing of operating two encryption algorithms in tandem just to raise the bar for attackers that much higher.


    It will be interesting to see how many other mobile operators follow Deutsche Telekom's example. Traffic is shifting from 2G to 3G and now to LTE. And whereas a lot of operators still expect to be operating GSM in 2020, the greater spectral efficiency of LTE is now driving quite a few leading operators to look at closing down their GSM networks in the 2016-2017 timeframe. Especially in those latter cases, quite a lot of operators may determine that they can do without the A5/3.

     

     

     
    Ray@LR
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    Ray@LR,
    User Rank: Blogger
    12/10/2013 | 12:13:57 PM
    Will this make a difference?
    Will this be enough to appease concerned mobile customers who believe their calls might be targeted? is this the security algorithm to beat all others?

    I wonder what the NSA thinks of this....
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