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QUALCOMM Offers Free Access to Encryption Software
Posted: 27-Feb-2003 [Source: Qualcomm]

[Qualcomm has opened its SOBER and Turing encryption technology. Source code, algorithm descriptions, and patents are being made available.]

San Diego, CA -- In an initiative designed to benefit the telecommunications industry and the general public, QUALCOMM Incorporated, pioneer and world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, today announced that it will allow free use of its SOBER and Turing encryption algorithms for any purpose. In the past, QUALCOMM provided the encryption software only to its licensed manufacturers or for non-commercial use.

Turing and the SOBER family are high-speed, highly secure stream ciphers and are thought to be immune to any practical cryptanalytic attacks. Stream ciphers can be much more efficient for encryption than the more common block ciphers, such as the Advanced Encryption Standard. Stream ciphers can mean lower cost of hardware implementation or, at times, the choice to use a software implementation instead of building any specialized hardware.

"Encryption technology protects our wireless networks and enables operators to ensure all cell phone calls are secure, however the value of the technology is limited unless it is used," said Greg Rose, vice president of technology for QUALCOMM. "By making the encryption software and complementary patents available, QUALCOMM has opened up a key piece of security technology to the industry and other interested individuals."

QUALCOMM was recently granted a new patent, U.S. Patent 6,510,228, that covers the SOBER cipher and its descendants, including its new encryption algorithm Turing. The new algorithm, the Turing cipher, is named after Alan Turing (1912-54), a respected mathematician and cryptographer who contributed greatly to England's code breaking efforts during World War II, as well as the foundations of computer science. The Turing cipher is significantly faster than the recently adopted Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm (Rijndael), and can offer advanced protection for CDMA networks, the Internet and electronic commerce. The SOBER family of encryption algorithms was first released in 1997 and can be used for a variety of CDMA applications, as well as other uses, such as high-speed routers.

Source code for the ciphers is available from QUALCOMM Australia's Web site here:

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