Most of us know that digital cellular phone communications, such as global system for mobile communications (GSM), which many major service providers use, are encrypted. And some of us may know that it has been cracked.  And I suppose we all think that nobody, except maybe a government, has the equipment or know how to listen in...

A reports that in a presentation Wednesday at the Black Hat security conference, two young cyber-security researchers demonstrated a new technique for cracking the encryption used on GSM.  The encryption is used to prevent eavesdropping, but the two researchers say that by using their technology they can record a GSM cell phone conversation from miles away and decode it in about half an hour with just $1,000 in computer equipment. GSM is the most popular standard for mobile phones in the world and the most notable service providers using GSM in the U.S. are AT&T and T-Mobile. [more]

Keep in mind that this technology is for sale, so you might should consider your cellular phone communications to be about as secure as unencrypted e-mail of the Internet.

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