Introduction to GSM Security and Encryption Seminar Topic:

The most popular and widely accepted standard is the GSM technology which stands for Global System for Mobile Communication. GSM is an open, digital cellular technology which is used to transmit mobile voice and data services. GSM is a globally implemented technology. At Bell laboratories in early 1970s, GSM was emerged from the idea of cell-based mobile radio systems.

GSM makes use of Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) technique for transmitting signals with a combination of Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) technique. GSM has an ability to carry 64 Kbps to 120 Mbps of Data rates.

The most secure cellular telecommunication standard currently available is the “GSM system” with standardized security methods. The major step in achieving end-to-end security is because of radio channel, which provides confidentiality of a call and anonymity of the GSM user.  The use of temporary identification numbers provides anonymity to the users, and confidentiality of the communication is achieved using the encryption and frequency hopping techniques.

Subscriber identity confidentiality is ensured by the use of Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity (TMSI). At first authentication and encryption procedures take place then TMSI is sent to mobile station, which in turn confirms the receipt of TMSI. The TMSI is valid only in the home location in which it was issued. For Communication outside home area, Location Area Identification (LAI) is needed along with TMSI for subscriber identity and confidentiality.

GSM Encryption

Encryption is the process of converting message from original form to an unreadable form. Decryption is the process of converting back the unreadable text to an original, readable form; Cryptography includes both encryption and decryption.

The major challenge in wireless network is the security when compared to wired network. The data in wireless communication can be easily eavesdropped.  The mobile users must connect to a mobile access point which is physically hidden, so there is no guarantee that the access point to which users are going to connect to is a trusted one. So security issues have to be addressed carefully over mobile wireless network communication. 

Cryptographic technique provides security to the information being exchanged over the communication. Many encryption algorithms have been deployed for this purpose.

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