Paper 2009/078

Attacks on the DECT authentication mechanisms

Stefan Lucks, Andreas Schuler, Erik Tews, Ralf-Philipp Weinmann, and Matthias Wenzel


Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) is a standard for connecting cordless telephones to a fixed telecommunications network over a short range. The cryptographic algorithms used in DECT are not publicly available. In this paper we reveal one of the two algorithms used by DECT, the DECT Standard Authentication Algorithm (DSAA). We give a very detailed security analysis of the DSAA including some very effective attacks on the building blocks used for DSAA as well as a common implementation error that can practically lead to a total break of DECT security. We also present a low cost attack on the DECT protocol, which allows an attacker to impersonate a base station and therefore listen to and reroute all phone calls made by a handset.

Available format(s)
Secret-key cryptography
Publication info
Published elsewhere. Accepted to CT-RSA 2009, updated paper
DECTDSAAcassablecryptanalysisblock cipherslinear cryptanalysisdifferential cryptanalysis
Contact author(s)
e_tews @ cdc informatik tu-darmstadt de
2009-02-16: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Stefan Lucks and Andreas Schuler and Erik Tews and Ralf-Philipp Weinmann and Matthias Wenzel},
      title = {Attacks on the DECT authentication mechanisms},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2009/078},
      year = {2009},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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