2-Way Radio Encryption
When communicating over a
radio, it is important to understand that anyone can listen to the
messages communicated over the channels if they are on the same channel.
This is may not be acceptable when the device is used by security
agencies and other private users who wish to keep their conversations
private and inaccessible to unauthorized persons.
This problem can be eliminated by electronically encrypting
conversations before transmitting them and then decrypting the
conversations at the receiver’s end, therefore ensuring their privacy.
This encryption capability is provided in many high-end commercially
Generally, a group of two-way radios to be used together are
subjected to a configuration set up wherein the encryption and
decryption codes that are to be used during transmission and receiving
of the data are programmed into the devices. This may involve putting
the radios in a programming mode so they can "talk" to each other to
learn the codes needed to decrypt a message.
Anyone intercepting a decrypted message on a radios not programmed
will hear garbled voice so they won't be able to understand the
There are different encryption levels such – low, medium and high and
the implementation of these levels are dependent on the commercial use
of the devices. One of the more secure encryption techniques is called
P25, which is a suite of wireless communications protocols used in the
US and elsewhere for two-way voice radio systems. The protocols include
security options in which voice and data traffic can be
cryptographically protected from eavesdropping. Lower level radios may
voice scrambling that could easily be picked up with someone who has
the same radio from the same manufacturer.
Author: David Onslow