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CryptoPhone IP 19
Secure desktop VoIP telephone set

CryptoPhone IP-19 is a secure encrypted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) desktop telephone set, developed in 2010 by Gesellschaft für Sichere Mobile Kommunikation mbH (GSMK) in Berlin (Germany), and partner company Snom Technology AG, also in Berlin (Germany). The device is based on the Snom 870 IP phone, and is also known as the Snom 870 CryptoPhone Edition [B].

Basically, it combines Snom's 870 IP phone, with GSMK's hardened operating system with end-to-end voice and data protection, using AES256 and Twofish encryption with 4096 bit Diffie-Hellman key exchange (SHA256). All keys are destroyed automatically at the end of each conversation.

The image on the right shows a typical IP19 with standard handset. Powered by a mains adapter or Power over Ethernet (PoE), it supports Gigabit Ethernet and has sockets for connection of a PC (RJ45) and optional USB add-ons. It can also be used with Inmarsat BGAN satellite terminals [A].
  
CryptoPhone IP-19 - right view

The CryptoPhone IP19 was the first secure wired IP telephone developed by GSMK, that was based on one of Snom's standard IP phones. It was announced in 2010 [4] and marked the beginning of a long-term partnership between GSMK and Snom [5]. The Snom 870 was last sold in June 2015 and was supported until June 2017, after which it was succeeded by the D765 and D785 models.

The device featured here, was anonymously donated to Crypto Museum in November 2020, most likely by a former user. According to an accompanying note, it had been used between 2012 and 2016 by activists in Berlin and London, in relation to the Snowden Revelations of the controversal – since ruled illegal – mass surveillance program of the US National Security Agency (NSA) [1]. 1

  1. Edward Snowden is a former CIA/NSA contractor turned whistleblower. In 2013, he released thousands of classified documents about the NSA's unlawful mass surveillance program to the press.  More

CryptoPhone IP-19 - right view
CryptoPhone IP-19 - front view
CryptoPhone IP-19 - left view
Bottom view
Bottom
CryptoPhone logo above the display
Connections at the rear
Expansion slot for wireless LAN option
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CryptoPhone IP-19 - right view
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CryptoPhone IP-19 - front view
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CryptoPhone IP-19 - left view
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Bottom view
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CryptoPhone logo above the display
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Connections at the rear
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Expansion slot for wireless LAN option

Features
The diagram below gives an overview of the controls at the front panel of the CryptoPhone IP-19. At the left is a cradle with the handset. It has a coiled cable that is connected at the rear. At the right is the keypad, which has the regular telephone buttons, plus a number of special purpose keys. At the top right is a colour LCD, with navigation keys below it. The unit can be powered by a 5V DC mains adapter – connected at the rear – but also via the RJ45 Ethernet connection (PoE).

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When powered, the device automatically connects to the network via DHCP. It was not supplied with a user manual, as full instructions are available on the LCD screen at the touch of a button. Each GSMK secure phone comes with a pre-configured fixed telephone number that is shown on the screen, but is also available on a printed label at the rear, in the format +807 12345678.

The IP-19 is extremely user-friendly and does not require a long and complicated installation procedure. Just connect the phone to the network and dial the number of the desired party. All keys are generated and exchanged automatically and will be destroyed at the end of the call. In addition, an extra — easy to use — authentication dialogue is available from the display after intiating a call. This is done as an extra safety measure against man-in-the-middle attacks.




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Interior
The interior of the IP-19 can be accessed by removing 8 recessed screws from the rear side of the device, after which the back panel can be taken off, as shown in the images below. All electronics are concentrated on two well-designed printed circuit boards (PCBs): a large one and a small one.

Both PCBs are mounted to the front panel of the telephone. The largest PCB holds the keyboard and the colour LCD. It connects to the smaller circuit board by means of a 20-way header.

The smaller PCB holds the entire computer-and-telephone platform, and has parts on both sides. The side that is visible after opening the unit, holds the ethernet transformer and the power-over-ethernet (PoE) components. The other side – shown in the image on the right – holds the micro-controller, RAM, flash ROM, ethernet controller, audio codec and other interfaces.
  
Processing board

Although the device is not built to TEMPEST standards — the plastic case is unshielded and the lines are unfiltered — it is well-designed and well-built. The fact that it is manufactured in China can be regarded as a disadvantage, but tampering with the firmware is highly unlikely, as it is replaced – in Europe – by GSMK's own firmware that runs on a hardended operating system [A].

Interior
Interior
Ethernet interface
Interfaces
Processing board
Board detail
Board detail
Board detail
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Ethernet interface
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Interfaces
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Processing board
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Board detail
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Board detail

Specifications
  • Secure Voice over IP (VoIP) communication
  • Not suitable for regular (insecure) VoIP/SIP calls
  • Gigabit Ethernet IEEE 802.3 10/100/1000 BaseT (RJ45)
  • Compatible with Inmarsat BGAN satellite terminals
  • IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ wireless LAN support (option)
  • Strong encryption algorithms AES256 and Twofish
  • 4096 bit Diffie-Hellman key exchange with SHA256 hash
  • Readout-hash based key authentication
  • 256 bit effective key length
  • Encryption key destroyed at end of call
  • Compatible with all GSMK CryptoPhone IP products
  • Suitable for PBX/PABX integration
  • Open source
Documentation
  1. GSMK CryptoPhone IP 19, Brochure
    Date unknown.

  2. Snom 870 IP CryptoPhone Edition, product leaflet
    Snom Technology AG, February 2011, version 1.1.

  3. Snom 870 IP phone, product leaflet
    Snom Technology AG, July 2013, version 3.0.0.

  4. Snom 870 IP phone, datasheet
    Snom Technology AG, November 2015, version 3.0.2.

  5. Snom 870 User Manual
    Snom Technology AG, 2009, version 1.01.
References
  1. Anonymous (unknown) donor, snom 870 CryptoPhone Edition - THANKS !
    Received November 2020.

  2. GSMK Cryptophone website
    Retrieved November 2020.

  3. Snom Technology AG website
    Retrieved November 2020.

  4. Marc Jacob, snom technology and GSMK unveil Secure VoIP Desktop Phone Offering
    Global Security Mag, November 2010

  5. Snom, snom and GSMK expand collaboration to develop highly secure telephones
    Press release, 26 February 2015.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Friday 06 November 2020. Last changed: Sunday, 08 November 2020 - 13:10 CET.
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