[Gsmmap] How is input data used for the monthly report?

Karsten Nohl nohl at srlabs.de
Sat Jan 25 15:39:38 CET 2014

Dear Oliver,

The lack of A5/3 support in many handsets is exactly why operators should still implement A5/1 improvement measures such as randomization. These will be needed for years to come, imho. Telekom Germany, as an example, had one type of randomization activated for several years (good!), but then apparently switched it off. (Maybe because of an incompatibility with the A5/3 feature?)

To expose such scenarios, we are counting how well phone calls are protected, not how well they could be protected if everybody always used the latest BlackBerry :-)

Hope this makes sense.



On Jan 25, 2014, at 14:21 , oliver.ast at telekom.de wrote:

> Hi Karsten,
> thanks for your clarification. This helps reading and interpreting the report in the right way.
> Unfortunately for the A5/3 topic it does not truly reflect the security status of the networks but rather "only" lists the capabilities of the devices used by the community to provide input data. Especially for the older ones like the Galaxy S2 there is a quite high probability that they do not have A5/3 activated. In Deutsche Telekom we started our A5/3 activities already in 2009 but it was quite hard in the beginning to convince the terminal vendors to enable A5/3 at least in our DT software (and trusting us doing a proper feature validation in our own labs). Since 2010 more or less all terminals that have been sold via Telekom channels have A5/3 support. But for open market (or other operator) variants I'm pretty sure that most devices up to 2011 or even later mainly came with A5/1 only functionality.
> So I guess it will definitively take quite some time until the share of A5/3 capable devices used by the GSMMap contributors rises significantly.
> A potential option for the future would be to consider one additional A5 statistic in the report that focusses on the network aspect (counting only ciphering sessions that have been established by A5/3 capable phones).
> Cheers
>     Oliver
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