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Bulk data encryptor

The 8045 family of devices were bulk data encryptors, developed and built by Inter-Elektronik AG in Zug (Switzerland) around 1989. They were intended for sending facsimile messages and ASCII computer data via serial RS-232 lines at any speed between 300 and 38,400 baud. 1

There were several design variants of the 8045 that mainly involved differences in the unit's firmware. The actual use of the device was specified by a three-letter prefix to the module number (see the models listed below).

The image on the right shows a typical CCD-8045 that was used for encrypting ASCII data from a computer's serial RS-232 port. At the front panel are 6 indicator LEDs plus a black push-button that is used to report and reset any errors. The current mode of operation is set with the physical 4-position key/lock at the right.
Front panel of the CCD-8045 data encryptor

In the image above, the device is shown in the OFF position. In the upper position (LOAD) the unit is ready to receive a valid encryption key (via the RS232 interface). Once the key is set, the unit should be set to 'CIPHER'. In this mode the upstream and downstream data is fully encrypted. In case of an emergency, the keys can be purged (zeroized) by setting the key to 'CLEAR' (down). Each unit has a sophisticated built-in key generator and full built-in diagnostics (SELFTEST).

All connections are at the rear of the unit. Two 25-way female type sub-D sockets are used for connecting a computer (top) and the data line (bottom) using the built-in V.24 interface. The unit is powered by a built-in 220V/50 Hz power supply unit (PSU) that has its connection at the rear.

  1. The maximum speed of the CCD-8045 is 38400 baud, whereas the DCE-8045 (X.25) supports 69.6 Kbps and the FCU-8045 (Fax) runs at 19.2 Kbps. In general, the speed is limited by the data protocol or transmission standard used in the application.

CCD-8045 data encryptor Front panel of the CCD-8045 data encryptor Front panel of the CCD-8045 Connections at the rear Entering the key Activating a key load operation Key-load mode selected Device turned off
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CCD-8045 data encryptor
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Front panel of the CCD-8045 data encryptor
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Front panel of the CCD-8045
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Connections at the rear
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Entering the key
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Activating a key load operation
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Key-load mode selected
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Device turned off

The follow design variants are currently known:

  • DCE-8045 - Digital Cipher Unit
    This unit is intended for the encryption and decryption of electronic mail (e-mail) and is inserted between the computer and the modem. It offers a military-grade stream-type cipher and allows the operator to quickly select between CLEAR and CIPHER modes. Data rates up to 69.6 Kbps are supported in both synchronous and asynchronous modes, using the X.25 packet protocol [1].

  • FCU-8045 - Facsimile Cipher Unit
    This variant is designed especially for the protection of facsimile messages (fax) and was used in the days when fax machines used an external modem. The FCU-8045 is inserted between the fax and the modem and is suitable for CCITT Group 3 equipment. The V.24 serial interface allows sychronous data transfers at speeds up to 19.2 Kbps [2].

  • CCD-8045 - Computer Cipher Device
    This version of the 8045 encryption/decryption unit is designed for the protection of plain RS-232 connections, without taking the underlying protocol into account (as the two other versions above do). The unit is suitable for data rates between 300 and 38,400 baud with full flow control (RTS/CTS or XON/XOFF). The data rate of the computer and the modem can be set indepdently, so that the unit can also be used as an interspeeder.
The CCD-8045 is a fairly compact unit that consists of a single eurocard printed circuit board (PCB) of 10 x 16 cm, that is built inside a standard metal enclosure. All controls are at the front (including the key-operated mode selector), whilst data and power connections are at the rear. The unit measures only 112 x 222 x 64 mm and weights approximately 2 kg including its metal enclosure. The DCE-8045 is a bit smaller (145 x 220 x 32 mm) and weights just 1 kg.

The PCB can easily be accessed by removing one of the shells of the case. This is done by removing the 4 screws from the sides. Lifting the upper shell reveals the components side of the PCB as shown in the image on the right.

The power supply unit (PSU) is housed in the pre-fabricated black rectangular module at the center. It is show here with a white lable holding the legend to the various DIP-switches. The mains filter and socket at the top right. The two 25-way sub-D female sockets are located at the bottom right, to the right of the DIP switches.
CCD-8045 interior

To the left of the PSU is the Z80 microprocessor, the firmware and the RAM memory. At the far left, barely visible in the image above, is the vertically mounted front panel PCB that plugs into the main board via a small DIN connector. According to the label on the EPROM this unit was made in 1989. At the bottom left of the PCB is a dedicated hardware-based AM9518PC ciphering processor made by AMD. It allows data to be encrypted and decrypted at 1.3 MBps, using the National Bureau of Standards standard data encryption algorithm (DES).

CCD-8045 interior Close-up of the EPROM holding the firmware (at the left is the front panel PCB) Close-up of the RS-232 interfaces Some hardware modifications in the 'glue logic'
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CCD-8045 interior
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Close-up of the EPROM holding the firmware (at the left is the front panel PCB)
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Close-up of the RS-232 interfaces
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Some hardware modifications in the 'glue logic'

Cipher algorithm
  • Algorithm: Data Encryption Standard (DES), National Bureau of Standards
  • Concept: Block cipher with built-in Electronic Key Generator
  • Period: > 1017
  • System key: > 7·1016
  • Message key: > 2·1019
  • Random key: > 7·1016
  • Number of key compartments: 256
Data protocols
  • RS-232, CCITT V.24
  • Current loop 20mA
  • Modem 7
  • HDLC
  • SDLC
  • X.25 (optional)
Help wanted
As the manufacturer of this unit, Inter-Elektronik, is no longer in business, it is difficult to find background information about their equipment and their use. If you have any further information about this unit or its manufacturer, or if you have any experience in using this unit or similar units, please contact us.

  1. Inter-Elektronik AG, DCE-8045 user manual
    Date unknown, but probably mid to late 1980s.

  2. Inter-Elektronik AG, FCU-8045 user manual
    Date unknown, but probably mid to late 1980s.

  3. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Am9518/AmZ8068 Data Ciphering Processor
    Datasheet. Date unknown, but probably mid-1980s.
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Crypto Museum. Created: Monday 15 July 2013. Last changed: Saturday, 24 February 2018 - 11:54 CET.
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