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New Thales paper explains how to securely communicate over mobile phone networks

January 2015 by Thales

Thales has launched a new report outlining how communications devices – such as those used by the police, private security and the military - could operate securely over mobile phone networks. Doing so would provide near universal range for secure communications.

The paper explains the strengths and weaknesses of various existing communication approaches, including walkie talkies, trunked PMR, and mobile networks. The former two offer security but limited range, or require costly infrastructure to the extend range. Mobile networks offer extensive range but do not meet security requirements for high security industries.

The proposed solution relates to modern encryption technology, which makes encrypting and decrypting voice data easily manageable within the device. The principle is similar to the way that emails can be secured over the internet by encrypting them between the sender and recipient.

When public infrastructure is needed to extend coverage, radios can link to an IP network such as LTE, 3G or Wi-Fi. Voice data can be encrypted by the radio prior to being sent to the IP network, and is decrypted by other radios connected to the IP network once received, thus ensuring it is secured end-to-end.

To ensure trust in such a system, such encryption must be to a recognised international standard such as The Advanced Encryption Standard AES, used by the US government.

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