How many times have you called someone from your mobile phone instead of sending an email because you didn’t want a “paper trail?” Maybe because you didn’t want an email to be forwarded on because the information was confidential. Perhaps the message you chose to conduct over a direct phone call from your mobile contained key product or shipping dates. Perhaps the information was a bit more sensitive. We’ve all likely done it at one point or another — picked up the phone instead of pressing “send” on an email because we believe it’s more direct; and, frankly, we often believe it is more secure.
Last week I posted an update on Cellcrypt, a company who specializes in securing voice traffic on mobile phones through their unique peer-to-peer device application. Cellcrypt had just released it’s application for the latest Bold 9700, Curve 8900, and BlackBerry Pearl devices. My original take was, just a bit, tongue-in-cheek. It seemed a bit of a niche product, securing mobile to mobile voice calls. Well, last week I got the chance to sit down with Kathleen Peters, Cellcrypt’s General Manager for North & South America, and got an eye-opening view of the Cellcrypt solution.
When most of us get concerned about the security of our communications, we are just worried about the data traffic originating from our email, web surfing, etc. We usually do not stop and consider the security — or the threats — on our mobile voice traffic. A phone call just becomes second nature. It can often be quicker, more convenient, and (so we may think) not a target for hackers. Yet mobile security is a very big deal for businesses who have equipped their work force with the latest smartphones to be more effective and mobile.
The threat to mobile phone calls is very real. Hackers have reportedly already struck at the GSM cellular networks, targeting voice traffic — with e of even and cellular network hacking to come. In a recent article with Mobile Europe, Cellcrypt’s CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth, illustrated the concern:
[Among Corporate Mobile Users] in the USA, 79% of people discuss confidential issues by phone every few days with 64% making such calls daily.”
Many corporations, law enforcement, and government agencies are taking these threats to heart and implementing Cellcrypt’s VoIP solution on their mobile phones. The application is peer-to-peer, meaning that both parties — the person initiating the call, as well as the person receiving the call — must have Cellcrypt installed on their device. What is unique is that the call, if conducted using Cellcrypt, is 100% secure; and cannot be tapped. Cellcrypt’s VoIP service encrypts packets with 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and 2048-bit Diffie-Hellman encryption key exchange.
Not only can Cellcrypt be used for mobile-to-mobile calling, the company also offers businesses a gateway application that can be used with private branch exchanges, or PBXs. This gateway would give companies the ability to use Cellcrypt to secure calls for their fixed-line office phones as well.
These features are become very appealing for companies needing to ensure their product information remains completely confidential. Likewise, government and law enforcement agencies can use Cellcrypt’s security not only for sensitive information, but also during times of crisis when the cellular network may be jammed or otherwise impacted. Take an emergency situation where a hurricane may devastate an entire coastal region. Callers could find the cellular network jammed from an overload of voice traffic as residents tried to call out for emergency services — or to check on their family and friends. In such a situation, government agencies and emergency response teams could utilize Cellcrypt to ensure communication to personnel from smartphones or.
Cellcrypt is currently available for BlackBerry and Nokia (N and E-series) smartphones, and supports any 3G network — including both GSM carriers (e.g., AT&T and T-Mobile) and CDMA carriers using EV-DO data networks (e.g., Verizon and Sprint). Cellcrypt is also FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) certified to providecontracts with U.S. government agencies.
You can learn more about Cellcrypt’s VoIP security service.