Security researchers have uncovered a new method for decrypting satellite crypto calls telephone communications with GMR-2 in “real time” – also in fractions of a second in some cases.
The new attack method was discovered by two Chinese security researchers and is based on a previous study in the year 2012 of German academics, which shows that the phone’s encryption can be done quickly so that attackers can hear the calls in time real.
The research, published in an article published last week by the International Association of Safety Researchers for Cryptologic Research, focused on the GMR-2 encryption algorithm commonly used in most modern satellite crypto calls phones, including the British telecommunications Inmarsat, to encrypt voice calls to prevent interception of interceptions.
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Unlike the previous 2012 study by German researchers who have tried to recover encryption key with the help of “light attack”, Chinese researchers have tried to “reverse the encryption algorithm to deduce the encryption key directly output from the Key current”.
The attack method it requires to hit a 3.3 GHz satellite current with a reverse attack that eventually produces the 64-bit encryption key and makes it easier to find the decryption key, allowing attackers To decipher the communications and listen to a conversation.
“This indicates that the counter attack is very efficient and practical that could lead to a real-time crack on the GMR-2” figure, indicates research work. “Experimental results on a 3.3GHz platform demonstrate that the 64-bit encryption key can be completely recovered by approximately 0.02”.
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According to the duo, the attack over time can undermine the encryption of the satellite crypto calls in a fraction of a second when successful, allowing the attacker to enter in real-time communication for a live interception.
The new findings raise concerns about the safety of satellite crypto calls, which are used primarily by field officers in war zones that protect our land, air, and water, as well as people in the remote precisely because of other alternatives.
Such attacks could pose a significant threat to the privacy of satellite phone users.
“Given that confidentiality is a very important aspect of satellite crypto calls communications, encryption algorithms on satellite crypto calls phones must be strong enough to withstand different levels of interception risk,” the researchers said.
“This shows that there are serious security issues in the GMR-2 digits, and it is critical for service providers to update the cryptographic modules of the system in order to provide confidential communication,” the researchers conclude.
The research was conducted by Hu Jiao, Li Ruilin Chaojing Tang, and National Defense Technology University, Changsha, China. For more details, contact your research work [PDF], titled “A Reverse Real-Time Attack on GMR-2 Figure Used on Satellite Phones.”