Security and authentication on the telephone
May 10, 2010 1:30 PM Subscribe
Two prominent, famous or 'important' people talk on the telephone. How does either the caller or recipient know they're actually speaking to the real person ?
posted by selton to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
For instance: Suppose the Prime Minister of Greece needs to speak to the Chancellor of Germany urgently. How would it be ensured that the person finally picking up the phone was really the Chancellor ? How could the Chancellor know it's really the Prime Minister on the other end ?
Would there be code words used between their personal assistants when the call is placed and received ? How would the authentication be done ?
Substitute those two with different people who may have had even less of a connection previously: maybe the CEO of BP taking a call from the Governor of one of the areas threatened by the recent oil spill ? Or Warren Buffett and the director of a company he's been rumoured to be considering buying a stake in ?
Impersonating someone's voice (especially someone in the public eye), rerouting landline phone numbers, stealing someone's mobile phone (or at least the sim) etc. don't seem insurmountable hurdles if someone was determined.
Obviously as a prank it might just be a waste of a few minutes, but in delicate discussions it could be much more than that.