Not too long ago, we heard that the GSM cellphone encryption was cracked and users were vulnerable to attacks. After GSM 64-bit A5/1 algorithm was compromised, the 3G algorithm was likely to follow shortly after.
Based on the reports about the 3G encryption cracking, the network relies on a KASUMI system, which only needs a couple of hours for a well-coordinated hacker to crack. 3G uses the KASUMI encryption, which processes 64-bit blocks using a 128-bit key.
What exactly does this mean to 3G users? We’ll, fortunately for everyone, the crack was found by researchers that used a highly complex mathematical equation and the exploit isn’t available to the public. The researchers said that their un-optimized single PC can recover 96 key bits in a matter of a few minutes and can complete the full 128 bit key in less than two hours.
Consumers shouldn’t be worried about this just yet, as CDMA has a MISTY encryption prepared. The MISTY encryption is a more complicated algorithm, which in theory should be harder to crack to a would-be hacker. Until someone else comes up with a method to crack the 3G algorithm, users data should be safe.