Motorola application dials up digital radios

Motorola application dials up digital radios

Motorola engineer Walt Anderson tests KMF Extensions. The rekeying scheme complies with the standards of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials.

Suite will let security officers update encryption keys from central location

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

Motorola Inc. late this year will release a software suite for over-the-air rekeying of secure digital radios, eliminating the need to load new encryption keys manually on each radio.

The Key Management Facility Extensions system works with Motorola's Astro integrated voice and data radio systems used by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Motorola's over-the-air rekeying scheme complies with the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials' land mobile radio standards.

To update the keys in current Astro radios used by a number of Justice and Treasury agencies, a security officer must physically visit each radio, or the radios must be brought to a central location.

KMF Extensions instead downloads the new keys via secure radio transmission to the field units. It runs under Microsoft Windows NT and works over an agency's integrated voice and data communications system.'' From KMF Extensions' graphical interface, the administrator configures common key references for user groups that share an encryption key.

The administrator can broadcast the update to radios individually or to a group. Each radio confirms receipt, giving the administrator a status report.

A radio automatically checks in when it is turned on. If it is not on or is out of range when keys are updated, it gets automatically updated the next time it is turned on. Radios that are lost, stolen or compromised can be disabled remotely.

During broadcast, the keys are secured by encryption, message numbering and authentication of the receiving radio. Existing Astro radios will require an upgrade to provide authentication before they can be rekeyed over the air.

Doug Hanson, Motorola's federal systems director, said federal agencies are among the beta testers of KMF Extensions, for which prices have not been set.

Contact Motorola at 800-262-8509.''


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