NSA Fallout: Berlin Moves to Increase Mobile Phone Security

German Chancellor Angela Merkel still uses the mobile phone that was the target of NSA spying. Zoom
DPA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel still uses the mobile phone that was the target of NSA spying.

After learning that Angela Merkel's phone was spied on, the agency responsible for information security is checking the mobile phones used by government officials. Some are already using new devices that supposedly haven't been cracked by foreign intelligence.

In response to the NSA eavesdropping scandal, German government authorities are currently reviewing the security of mobile communications in Berlin. Only a few days after SPIEGEL reported on efforts to spy on Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone, officials at the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) released an advisory on how text messages, emails and conversations might be spied on.

BSI officials requested that the Chancellery and government ministries switch to newly developed crypto mobile phones that have only been approved for use by officials in Berlin since September. So far, no foreign intelligence agency has succeeded in breaking the encryption on the phones, the German Interior Ministry claims.

Although other departments have been slower to respond, the Economics Ministry has already taken the step. Two months ago, the office, headed by outgoing Economics Minister Philipp Rösler of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), began using 15 of the new BlackBerry Z10 smart phones for test purposes. The phones have been modified so that they house two strictly separated units. One can be used for private communication and the other encrypts both voice calls and emails. Ministry officials have since decided to purchase 110 of the devices.

BSI is also working to authorize a special tablet computer that makes it possible to encrypt both emails and Internet surfing. "A growing number of government officials are turning up at meetings with their classified documents on tablets rather than in binders," said BSI spokesman Matthias Gärtner.

Still, the chancellor doesn't appear to be overly bothered by the advice she's getting from government information security experts. Angela Merkel continues to make calls with the very same mobile phone that the NSA spied on.

SPIEGEL/dsl

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1. optional
peskyvera 11/11/2013
Throw the Americans out! And the Brits too!
2. Use only telecommunication equipment made by Germany
lsasmh@yahoo.com 11/11/2013
The USA government bans equipment made by Huawei from government contracts because it is a Chinese company and is suspected of spying. Now the German government would have to ban equipment made in UK and USA because the equipment are confirmed to be used for spying on Germans.
3. optional
spon-facebook-10000677773 11/11/2013
"increase mobile phone security" it would be better if the entire World says no to this "stasi" organisation NSA
4. Phone Security
sneeekysteve 11/12/2013
How long do you think it will take for the NSA and British Intelligence to break into Angela Merkel's cell phone? They'll send her a message with an attachment. She'll click on the attachment and they'll have complete access to her phone.
5. Phone security
kukaramanga 11/12/2013
They secure the phones of politicians and the elites making those available to the masses easier and more vulnerable to hack. After all, Big Brother is the only one that can do unto others as it would not have others do unto it.
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