Software to stop phone tapping

New software that stops the ability to tap into mobile phone conversations has been launched in the UK.

Sep 21, 2006
By David Howell

New software that stops the ability to tap into mobile phone conversations has been launched in the UK. The susceptibility of mobile phones to tapping was recently highlighted by the controversy involving members of the Royal Household, ministers, MPs and celebrities.

Babylon nG has developed a new system – available from One Day Mobile – that offers privacy and can be installed on any 2.5 or 3G phone allowing users to encrypt some, or all, of their conversations.

The release of the software is a move away from the bulky handsets traditionally associated with voice encryption and means standard mobile phones can now be used for encrypted calls. Jointly developed with German partners Safe-com and the military, Babylon nG software is activated simply by using the handset’s GPRS capabilities.

The software ensures that the voice call is encrypted while the receiving handset unscrambles the call.

When the encryption is not required, the handset maintains all the usual functions of a mobile telephone making standard voice calls, sending texts and surfing the web on the user’s usual network.

One Day Mobile says there is a common misconception that when using mobile digital handsets, the signals are already encrypted. Whilst the signal between the mobile phone and base station is scrambled, the transmission between the sending and receiving transmitter is not – leaving the signal open to hackers.

Joe Francis, operations manager of One Day Mobile, said: “Babylon nG uses 256k-bit technology with a 1024k-bit key to give several layers of encryption. With online banking services, for example, encrypted using 128k, it shows how secure the system is.

“The encryption, which has been rigorously tested by the military, changes every time a call is made and each handset has its own unique encryption key. When two of these telephones communicate it really is impossible for someone to unlock the signal. An encrypted message service is also available.

“Where Babylon nG really scores is that the option to use the encryption or not means that the mobile phone does not have a limited use and maintains all the functions of the handset. It is cost-effective to use GPRS as the calls are subject to networks’ data transfer plans.”

Babylon nG is available to verifiable organisations through a license from One Day Mobile. Full details about obtaining the software are available at www.babylonng.co.uk

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