Need a really secure private telephone line? Then an Israeli company could have the answer.
Petah Tikva based Tikal Networks has developed a new Internet telephone that scrambles messages before they are sent down the line.
Unlike other scrambling devices on the market, Tikal’s Cryptone phone uses coded Internet protocol (VoIP) technology to encrypt the voice of the caller, a technology that makes it nearly impossible to decipher.
“What we do is create a ‘black hole’ through Internet communications and send the voice conversation through that tunnel,” Alex Argov, the company’s CEO tells ISRAEL21c. The trick, he adds, is that “the tunnel cannot be seen.
“Even with a full-blown decryption program on a computer, it would take more than a week to decrypt the key,” he adds proudly.
The Cryptone phone, which is already attracting interest from spy agencies, military clients, and corporate customers worldwide, was developed by Tikal following a request last year by the Italian Navy for a secure telecommunications line.
“The military appeal for more secure communication lines seems obvious enough. But now, with new laws that allow governments to bug company lines, and the growing fear of corporate spying, we are receiving interest from business clients around the world, especially in South America, the United States, and Europe,” explains Argov.
In the US, for example, the threat of global terrorism led Congress to pass the controversial Patriot Act of 2001 and expand the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to legalize (among other things) greater eavesdropping and spying operations.
While such efforts may help fight terrorism, they are a major concern for business firms and other companies. “Businesses are more concerned about privacy issues now then ever before; they do not want the government or other competitors tapping into their resources and learning their secrets,” Argov says.
But while Argov is hopeful that the Cryptone will help revolutionize the market for ciphered devices; military and business clients will have to pay a considerable price to block unwanted listeners.
The phone itself costs around $300, says Argov. The server, however, will cost a client upwards of $10,000.
Still, price often takes a backseat to more pressing issues of privacy and security. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah claimed its members cracked Israel Defense Force radio signals using Iranian technology, and established teams to constantly monitor changing IDF frequencies.
While Tikal Networks did not develop the technology to be used against Hezbollah, a recent company press release suggests that the new phone does have terrorists in mind when it comes to preventing unwanted listeners. “Cryptone will provide a reliable service for those in need of a secure, private line,” Argov concludes, “whether it be the Israeli military or a company in America or Europe.”