Encryption ensures effective security where information cannot be intercepted and used to hinder emergency response or endanger responders and the public. The public safety community increasingly needs to protect critical information and sensitive data, particularly within land mobile radio (LMR) communications, and encryption is the best available tool to achieve that security. The resources below provide best practices and considerations for planning, implementing, and securely operating encryption with public safety communications.
This video outlines encryption’s role in protecting sensitive tactical and operational communications as well as the personal identifiable information and medical status of civilian patients during emergencies.
Best Practices for Encryption in P25 Public Safety Land Mobile Radio Systems (PDF, 634.25 KB)
This document addresses methods to improve cross-agency coordination and emphasizes the use of standards-based encryption to enhance secure interoperability and minimize the risk of compromising sensitive information.
Best Practices for Encryption in P25 Public Safety Land Mobile Radio Systems - Developing Methods to Improve Encrypted Interoperability in Public Safety (Fact Sheet) (PDF, 162.26 KB)
This document highlights best practices of key management necessary to allow encrypted operability and interoperability. These best practices are important in developing system security where encrypted interoperability is realizable. Additionally, significant planning and coordination must be undertaken to achieve encrypted interoperability on a national scale.
Operational Best Practices for Encryption Key Management (PDF, 3.00 MB)
This document provides public safety organizations that have chosen to encrypt their radio transmissions with information on how to effectively obtain, distribute, and manage cryptographic keys.
Considerations and Guidance
Communications Security – Protecting Critical Information, Personnel, and Operations (PDF, 445.92 KB)
This white paper summarizes the threats and draws on established COMSEC principles to describe reliable approaches to secure information. It highlights encryption of message traffic, with special emphasis on maintaining interoperability through careful planning, coordination, and selection of a standard encryption algorithm.
Considerations for Encryption in Public Safety Radio Systems (PDF, 321.33 KB)
This document examines the complex issues of why encryption may be needed during critical operations of an urgent or time-sensitive nature or when open communications may not be sufficient to protect personally identifiable and/or sensitive information. This document provides guidance to public safety users through a process to assess the need for encryption as well as the questions that must be considered.
Considerations for Encryption in Public Safety Radio Systems - Determining the Need for Encryption in Public Safety Radios (Fact Sheet) (PDF, 183.94 KB)
This document provides a high-level overview of all the factors public safety agencies and departments should thoroughly discuss and carefully considered before reaching a decision to encrypt their public safety radio systems.
Encryption Key Management Fact Sheet (PDF, 134.80 KB)
This fact sheet educates public safety organizations on how to effectively manage cryptographic keys for their radio systems.
Guidelines for Encryption in Land Mobile Radio Systems (PDF, 222.55 KB)
The purpose of this document is to provide information that should be considered when evaluating encryption solutions to minimize the possibility of sensitive information being monitored, but are concerned with the cost of standards compliant encryption.
Guidelines for Encryption in Land Mobile Radio Systems - Determining what Encryption Method to Use for Public Safety Radios (PDF, 321.33 KB)
This document discusses methods that may be used to ensure the privacy of sensitive public safety LMR communications. These methods mainly involve the use of a variety of encryption techniques.
Link Layer Authentication (LLA) and Link Layer Encryption (LLE): Are You Really Secure? (.pdf, 275.32 KB)
This white paper summarizes the difference between LLA and LLE and emphasizes the need for encryption in the P25 environment. While both LLA and LLE sound similar and improve Project 25 security, they serve different purposes and are in different stages of development and adoption. LLA and LLE: Are You Really Secure? explains these features and their impact on secure public safety communications.