Encrypted

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KC8RQH

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Hello all,
Is there any to listen to encrypted conversations?
Like Washtenaw Narcs
id's like
12359
12360
12361
2056

Is there a setting on my pro 2096 that I am just missing,or is it.
just something I'll never be able to here
Thanks ahead of time
73's
 

Markinsac

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Encrytion requires a key in order to decode the communications. If your local system has been encrypted, it is because they made the decision (whether good or bad) to lock out other users from hearing what is happening on the frequency. Your scanner hsa no way to enter a key for decoding the converstaions itself. If they are analog, and just using some voice inversion (or other simple encryption), you can use a computer to filter and convert it. If it is a more complex coding, or if they've gone digital, you're mostly out of luck.

Some agencies do it because they think too many "bad" people are listening to avoid capture, or because they want to keep the names and information on people they run during the course of their business private.
 

N0WEF

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Encryption, on their radios, is only as good as the user.

If you forget to turn it on, it doesn't work.
 

Thunderbolt

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Most of the newer radios on the MPSCS are "strapped" when programmed, so the operator can not disable the encryption mode on that particular talkgroup. This improves the likelihood that sensitive communications will not accidentally become "unsecure." This is especially true of high level surveillance and SWAT operations.

73s

Ron
 

N0WEF

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Sorry, I was speaking in more of a general way. My apologies if it caused any confusion.

BTW Thunderbolt, I always wanted to say, I smile every time I see your Sig.

(Edit: I just saw I said "Their radios", and considering the post cited a specific group it was my mistake)
 
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northscan23

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I suppose descrambling encyrption was probably easier before the days of digital. But the designers of the digital radios make it as difficult as possible to do soo now. Descrambling encryption is by the way a violation of federal law. But it will probably happen eventually that someone will crack the code.
 

rdale

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There is no "code" because it changes whenever the radio programmer wants it to. So it'll never be "cracked" like you are referring to.
 

Thunderbolt

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With the last two system upgrades, the MPSCS now has OTAR, which stands for "Over The Air Re-keying." This allows the system manager to change the encryption code as often as he wants to; units in the field automatically download the new key when they are turned on. In theory, the encryption key can be changed daily, but most systems change their key once every blue moon.

73s

Ron
 

n5ims

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There's always this method.

Is there any to listen to encrypted conversations?
Well, there's always being arrested and placed into the back of a police car and listen to their radio while it decrypts the conversation. You did ask about "any way". While not recommended (nor a very long lasting way), this would do it.
 

N0WEF

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Well, there's always being arrested and placed into the back of a police car and listen to their radio while it decrypts the conversation. You did ask about "any way". While not recommended (nor a very long lasting way), this would do it.
:D This is why we need a like button!! :D

And so I'm on topic. They have found ways to break DES, but it's impractical, and won't last long enough now with the ease of re-keying.

It did take them almost a year to decrypt a few encoded transmissions. (That's with the older, and not most current form of encryption. I've seen reports of supercomputers doing it in a month)
 

Skud

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Most of the newer radios on the MPSCS are "strapped" when programmed, so the operator can not disable the encryption mode on that particular talkgroup. This improves the likelihood that sensitive communications will not accidentally become "unsecure." This is especially true of high level surveillance and SWAT operations.

73s

Ron
If I get this right, if they are on Dispatch it could be in the open, and as soon as they switch to LEIN, it would be Encrypted? So they can make certain TG's open and certain ones Encrypted with no user input?
 

kd8ati

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If I get this right, if they are on Dispatch it could be in the open, and as soon as they switch to LEIN, it would be Encrypted? So they can make certain TG's open and certain ones Encrypted with no user input?
User input? what kind of user input? And yes that is exactly the case. However to be even more specific, its not the talkgroup itself that is encrypted, it is the radios on a talkgroup. For example a Motorola radio could have dispatch on regular in the open, and then it could switch over to a narc talkgroup in which the radios programed would start doing encryption. Sometimes not all the radios are programed correctly, which is why every so often you will hear someone talking on a TG which is marked as encrypted on the RR database, but it is in the open. Sometimes they flip the switch on the radio incorrectly to.

I guess I should also remind our US folks that it is a US federal crime to decrypt any transmissions that are encrypted. So if you should choose to do so, you will be doing it at your own risk.
 

drdispatch

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To Encrypt, or not to Encrypt, that is the Question

If I get this right, if they are on Dispatch it could be in the open, and as soon as they switch to LEIN, it would be Encrypted? So they can make certain TG's open and certain ones Encrypted with no user input?
To expand on KD8ATI's answer; Each user agency on the MPSCS can choose to encrypt any or all of their traffic. They can only encrypt certain talkgroups, like SWAT, Narcotics Enforcement, etc; or encrypt all their talkgroups.

When Calhoun County made the switch to MPSCS in 2006 - 2007, the decision was made that all law enforcement TG's would be encrypted. They also went with the OTAR feature which Thunderbolt mentioned, which uses a "key loader" which is a 10-key alphanumeric keypad mounted into the chassis of a reconditioned Motorola HT-350, of all things. Since there are a gazillion possible combinations (give or take a wajillion or so) and the key can be up to 12 or 14 characters long, it would take a while to "crack the code", even if you did have a decoder ring that could do it (possession of which by unauthorized persons is also a federal crime). And all of Calhoun County's radios are "strapped", so that encryption is automatically turned on for TG's that require it, and turned off for those that don't. The only exception is the analog zone, zone F, which contains I-CALL & the I-TACs - you have to manually switch off encryption or you will get "bonked".
 
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krokus

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It did take them almost a year to decrypt a few encoded transmissions. (That's with the older, and not most current form of encryption. I've seen reports of supercomputers doing it in a month)
If you want a good feel for how long it takes to brute-force attack a single session key, check out:
Project RC5

The 72-bit key search has been on-going for years, and the MPSCS key is probably longer. The challenge is to break just one key, and decrypt the message. (One of the computers I had this running on, would check approximately 7.7 thousand keys per second, and wasn't the fastest machine available when I purchased it in 2002.)
 

KC8LTS

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MPSCS uses DES-OFB which is a 64 bit key. So it should take you about 1757 days (approx. 5 years) according to the aforementioned website. Give or take a few depending on your computing power.
 
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