Security flaw found in feds’ digital radios

Security flaw found in feds’ digital radios

By: Declan McCullagh AUGUST 9, 2011 11:59 PM PDT

Expensive high-tech digital radios used by the FBI, Secret Service, and Homeland Security are designed so poorly that they can be jammed by a $30 children’s toy, CNET has learned.

A GirlTech IMME, Mattel’s pink instant-messaging device with a miniature keyboard that’s marketed to pre-teen girls, can be used to disrupt sensitive radio communications used by every major federal law enforcement agency, a team of security researchers from the University of Pennsylvania is planning to announce tomorrow.

[…]

Project 25, sometimes abbreviated as P25, is the name of the wireless standard used in the radios, which have been widely adopted across the federal government and many state and local police agencies over the last decade. The plan was to boost interoperability, so different agencies would be able to talk to one another, while providing secure encrypted communications.

The radios aren’t cheap. A handheld Midland P25 Digital sells for $3,295, and scanners are closer to $450.

But federal agents frequently don’t turn encryption on, the researchers found. (Their paper is titled “A Security Analysis of the APCO Project 25 Two-Way Radio System,” and the other authors are Sandy Clark, Travis Goodspeed, Perry Metzger, Zachary Wasserman, and Kevin Xu.)

via Security flaw found in feds’ digital radios | Privacy Inc. – CNET News.

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1 Comment

  1. September 4, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Now that is some terrific writing.


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