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vectroTEL X8 - Secure GSM Phone

 VectroTel X8 Status unknown
25th May 2006

The vectroTEL X8 is a tri-band GSM phone with an added encryption module to make communications much more secure than on a standard GSM phone. This is done using a combination of AES and Diffie-Hellman encryption. This combination of encryption techniques is highly effective at providing a communications channel which is virtually uncrackable, but only when a call is made between compatible vectroTel handsets.

Produced by Vectronix AG of Switzerland, the vectroTEL X8 is the sort of thing that would give many governments nightmares, but it's worth bearing in mind that even with the sophisticated encryption that the vecroTEL X8 offers, it's still possible to work out who is calling who and the physical location of the parties involved. And any call to a non-vectroTEL handset would be protected by the weaker level of security that GSM uses.

A recent bugging scandal in Greece demonstrates that potentially anybody with valuable information could be at risk from eavesdropping, and that the people listening in might not necessarily be entitled to do so. You could argue that this sort of device is ideal for terrorists and drug dealers.. on the other hand, you could argue that it effectively protects the rights of individuals from snooping.

 vectroTEL X8 It's a pretty conventional mobile phone in technical terms. In fact, it's a modified Sagem myX-8 device - the encryption module is installed on the miniSD card in the myX-8, turning it into the vectroTEL X8. It has a QVGA screen, 1.3 megapixel camera and Bluetooth and all the other usual features you'd expect. The previous vectroTEL model was the S3, a handset based on the Sagem MW 3026, a monochrome handset from 2001. Even though the myX-8 is a somewhat uncommon handset, it does at least draw less attention than the five-year-old clunker that the previous model was. The X8 and S3 models can make secure calls to each other, so on the offchance that you have the vectroTEL S3, you shouldn't have any difficulties if you buy some X8 handsets too.

We understand that the vectroTEL X8 will be available during Q3 2006, priced in the 500-600 range.

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vectroTEL X8 at a glnace

Available:

Q3 2006

Network:

Tri-band GSM

Data:

GPRS

Screen:

240x320 pixels, 256k colours

Camera:

1.3 megapixels

Size:

Medium-large candy bar
115x47x21mm / 125 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Infra-red:

Yes

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Yes

Battery life:

5 hours talk / 12 days standby approx

 

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