CopyTele DCS-1200 and USS-900
CopyTele,Inc. 900 Walt Whitman Road Melville,NY11747
Tel: 1-631-549-5900 Fax: 1-631-549-5974
DCS-1200- $1595, USS-900 $1095.
The CopyTele DCS-1200 and USS-900 are small (6″ x 4.38″ x 1.38″), portable (9 ounces) telephone encryption devices. They come with international power adapters.
The DCS-1200 connects between the handset of your telephone and the body of the telephone, which allows it to be used on analog and digital PBXs, ISDN , and Satellite Communication Terminals, as well as standard analog telephones. Connecting it is easy: You unplug the coiled handset cord from your telephone and plug it into the side of the DCS-1200, or else use the included headset/mike. You then take a short (provided) cable and connect the DCS-1200 to the jack where you just unplugged the handset. The DCS- 1200 can connect to a satellite or cellular phone – a feature we will test in the future – and has a built-in battery which will last up to six hours when so used. In addition, it can be used to encrypt data on your PC and encrypt files for e-mail communication. While the DCS-1200 is set for a standard phone, it may require tweaking, and this will require a call to the help desk, as there is no real manual to adequately explain the features offered.
The USS-900 works on an analog telephone system, and goes between the telephone and the RJ-11c wall jack, rather than the handset. It involves no tweaking, and is therefore a better bet if you do not plan to use a digital PBX or satcom. The USS-900 additionally can secure fax and data transmissions, and can also encrypt email attachments and the files on your PC.
Voice quality was adequate with a good line. In our worst-case test involving a bad line, far from a switch, with, according to the analysis, frayed insulation, which has made many devices fail, we were still able to connect and speak. While the voice quality in this worst-case situation was not great, and while dropouts required repetition, we were able to make a secure connection with these devices, which is way better than a device failing to connect, and having to make a clear but non-secure connection. The CopyTele encryption devices use the Harris CITADEL™ CCX cryptographic engine chip for key generation and encryption, with the option of having either168 Bit Triple DES or Harris’ own encryption algorithm. While we have a personal bias against proprietary algorithms, Harris is an experienced defense contractor, and their products have a good reputation. This chip and algorithm are used widely within NATO which means that it will certainly be adequate for commercial use.
Will the encryption impede real-time legal wiretaps? As always, we have no idea, and it remains one of those questions to which we don’t actually expect a serious answer.