Philips DECT Cordless Phone: Functional, But Seriously Flawed

I bought this phone system on Woot.com in response to my wife’s request that we get something new for our home line. At $49 it was at least a serious bargain. I see this very system offered on Amazon.com for $80. With four handsets and a base even that seems like a good price.

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DECT Encryption Analyzed & Cracked

A group in Germany have successfully analyzed and cracked the encryption used in DECT cordless systems using relatively trivial hardware. They’ve published an article (in German) and presented at this weeks Chaos Communications Congress (25C3).

From the description of their presentation:

Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) is a synonm for cordless phones today. Although DECT can be found nearly everywhere, only little is known about the security of DECT. Most parts of the DECT standard are public, but all cryptographic algorithms used in DECT (authentication and encryption) are secret and not known to the public.

We will show you the following:

  • An introduction into the DECT protocol.
  • An introduction to the DECT authentication and key management functions.
  • An introduction into the DECT low level communication.
  • A detailed security analysis of the protocol.

The presenters are members of a group called dedected.org. A PDF of their 25C3 presentation (in English) is available here.

Note that the groups web site is hosted in a trac SCM system and itself has a faulty security certificate.

Searching For Tivo & HDMI Cable Insanity

tivohd_wremote_rf_300rgb440I hate to admit this, but on December 24th my wife and I went to Best Buy looking for a last minute gift. We decided that her younger brother needed a Tivo. Ours is a three Tivo household, although only TivoHD sees any real use these days. One you get used to having a DVR you want one on every TV, and radio too for that matter.

Though we’d had two SD Tivo units for years when we bought or HDTV we initially got the Time Warner HD-DVR instead of Tivo Series 3. The Tivo Series 3 units were $800 at the time, more than we were willing to pay. That experience was enlightening, like stepping back into the dark ages. What crappy menus, and basically no intelligence at all in the software. The CableCo DVR was simply dreadful.

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Vera, Z-Wave & I: Day 1

logo-zwaveToday was the day that I finally got around to taking the Vera home automation system out of the box. It was a simple beginning as I have only one Z-wave device to control at present, a Monster Cable lamp dimmer. In about two hours I was able to get Vera on the network and upgraded to the latest firmware. I also had it controlling my one lamp. Woo Hoo!

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Jeff Pulver on HDVoice

Today Jeff Pulver posted a blog entry giving his sense that HDVoice will spark a renaissance in the VoIP world. He feels that carriers will be able to differentiate themselves on the basis of quality and earn customer loyalty. He’s outright enthusiastic about HDVoice.

I find Jeff’s focus in this area encouraging. Jeff has a lot of clout and could help push wideband telephony into the thoughts of people who might otherwise pass it by.

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