Russia's ERA cryptophone system

The Fatal Failure of Russia’s ERA Cyptophone System

Russia’s military-secure ERA cryptophone system has failed in the Ukraine war, raising crucial questions about why Moscow committed to a system that was so badly flawed from the start.

Cell phones have played an outsized role in the Ukraine war. In particular, they have been used to geolocate sensitive military sites, giving the Ukrainians the ability to target Russian ships, ammunition depots, troop clusters and weapon locations.

A phone-derived “heat map” of “Russian phones” has recently revealed mass troop locations and movements. Ukraine has tapped Russian phone calls from the battlefield revealing information on the location of Russian officers, including generals. In one case, a Russian general’s conversation on a cell phone resulted in his killing, according to reports.

Ukraine claims it has set up a special unit to track Russian military leaders and, wherever possible, to liquidate them. More than 40 senior Russian officers have been killed so far in the war, including at least 12 generals.

The US reportedly is helping Ukraine target Russian officers, meaning that the powerful NSA, CIA and military intelligence organizations are supplying the Ukrainians with near real-time intelligence.

Theoretically, Russian troops are not supposed to be using unsecured cellular phones. Yet that rule seems to be flouted, and it is undermined by Russia’s encrypted ERA phone system.

Read the full article at AsiaTimes.

Stephen Bryen is a Senior Fellow at Yorktown Institute.

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