PGP to sign VoIP calls

The inventor of the Internet’s best-known encryption software has turned his attention to the security of IP voice calls.

Phil Zimmerman, whose PGP (Pretty Good Encryption) software is the de facto standard for the encryption of email, announced that he will demonstrate a prototype of his new program for scrambling VoIP traffic – Internet-based phone calls.

Like PGP it will use public and private keys to encrypt the call before it is sent and then unscramble it on receipt. He expects the software to be ready within 12 months, when he will make the underlying code available for review. However he has yet to decide whether to make it a full open source project.

‘If you want to have an encrypted call, then you have to call someone running the same software at the other end,’ Zimmermann explained. ‘Eventually, I’m hoping companies that make VoIP phones will incorporate this protocol into their phones.’

He added that he is talking to a couple of companies, but declined to give names.

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