Secusmart offers encrypted calls for Android, BlackBerry

Worried about eavesdroppers? This microSD card with a built-in encryption chip locks down conversations between smartphones in real time.

Secusmart's microSD card has an encryption chip that can encode and decode VoIP calls in real time.
Secusmart's microSD card has an encryption chip that can encode and decode VoIP calls in real time. Stephen Shankland

HANOVER, Germany--Wish you had one of those spy-movie scramblers the president uses to to keep snoopers from tapping into his calls?

At the CeBIT show here, Secusmart debuted a microSD card with a built-in processor that lets people do just that with ordinary smartphones. It plugs into phones with a microSD slot--yes, that means no iPhones--then encrypts voice and SMS communications.

The technology uses VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) to actually place the calls, which means it needs 3G or Wi-Fi connections, said Hans-Christoph Quelle, a managing director at the German company. With that connection, it provides real-time, full-duplex communications--in other words, with no delays and with both callers able to talk at the same time.

It works on Android and BlackBerry phones today, Quelle said.

The technology sets up a connection between smartphones with the card that's protected with 180-bit AES encryption. It also can link into an organization that builds the technology into its own phone network.

It's not clear how much it costs, though--Quelle declined to share specifics. It's not for the average person, but the audience is growing. Politicians such as the German chancellor's office and other authorities are the initial market, but businesses, too, are becoming candidates.

Hans-Christoph Quelle, a managing director at Secusmart, explains his company's encryption technology for smartphones.
Hans-Christoph Quelle, a managing director at Secusmart, explains his company's encryption technology for smartphones at the CeBIT tech show. Stephen Shankland/CNET
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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