Cellular Message Encryption Algorithm

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In cryptography, the Cellular Message Encryption Algorithm (CMEA) is a block cipher which was used for securing mobile phones in the United States. CMEA is one of four cryptographic primitives specified in a Telecommuncations Industry Association (TIA) standard, and is designed to encrypt the control channel, rather than the voice data. In 1997, a group of cryptographers (Wagner et. al., 1997) published attacks on the cipher showing it had several weaknesses. Some accusations were made that the NSA had pressured the original designers into crippling CMEA, but the NSA has denied any role in the design or selection of the algorithm. The ECMEA and SCEMA ciphers are derived from CMEA.

CMEA is described in US patent 5,159,634.

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