GTE demos encryption capability for cellular net

GTE Government Systems announced last month that it had successfully demonstrated the first use of a promising computer algorithm for national security over a commercial cellular network. The demonstration represents only one segment of a broad National Security Agency initiative known as 'Condor,'

GTE Government Systems announced last month that it had successfully demonstrated the first use of a promising computer algorithm for national security over a commercial cellular network.

The demonstration represents only one segment of a broad National Security Agency initiative known as "Condor," which seeks to foster industry development of highly secure products and networks that the national security community— from spies to soldiers in the field— can use for voice and data communications.

Condor's broader aim is to jump-start secure wireless products that national security agents can use with any existing wireless network in the world— be it a standard analog cellular network in Eastern Europe or a digital satellite communications network in the United States.

"Condor is important to the United States," said Judy Emmel, an NSA spokeswoman. "The increasing reliance on unprotected, commercial, mobile wireless systems means that our national leadership, warfighters and law enforcement officials who are using these systems are at risk."

Key to bringing the Condor vision to reality is digitization and encryption. And a host of companies— including GTE as well as Motorola Inc., Qualcomm Inc., L-3 Communications Corp. and Hughes Global Services, a division of Hughes Space and Communications Co.— are developing products and plans for Condor, NSA said.

What GTE has used to give wireless users a glimpse of NSA's Condor vision is an encryption algorithm created by Texas Instruments Inc. and Atlantic Signal Processor. GTE coupled the algorithm— the 2,400 bits/sec Mixed Excitation Linear Prediction (MELP)— with a standard cellular phone and a processor to digitize speech and then encrypt it. GTE used identical equipment on the other end of the call to decode it.

Essential to the demonstration, which was given in late February at the Secure Network Symposium in Dallas, was the ability to show that voice communication could be digitized and encrypted with as high a degree of quality as secure communications under current military methods, which use an algorithm twice as big as MELP.

"With half the bandwidth, we get the same kind of performance, and that allows the government to use more of its channels," said Bob Dutton, vice president and general manager for information processing and security systems at GTE Government Systems.

But the security issue is what drives Condor. "As soon as it hits the air, [a standard cellular call] is subject to interception by unfriendly parties," Dutton said. That is a concern for the military as it seeks to rely more on existing wireless networks rather than build its own.

The wireless industry agreed that wireless communications are not as secure as they could be.

"The amount of security varies widely with the kind of phone you have," said Rick Kemper, director for secure systems at the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. "From a user perspective, I suppose the industry association's advice to the user is, 'Don't say anything on an analog cell phone that you wouldn't say in an elevator.' "

As Condor evolves, vendors are expected to develop integrated products— handheld phones or data devices with built-in processors that digitize and encode signals, thereby making them readable only by identical devices. Dutton said GTE expects eventually to transplant some of the technology it develops under the Condor initiative to the commercial market.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.