British, American Spies Steal SIM Cards Data

British, American Spies Steal SIM Cards DataBritish, American Spies Steal SIM Cards Data

The US National Security Agency (NSA) and Great Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) hacked into the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer, stealing encryption information, according to documents released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden and reported by The Intercept Thursday, the Christian Science Monitor wrote.

This gave the agencies the ability to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data, according to the report, “The Great SIM heist.”

“With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments,” the report asserts. “Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted.”

Gemalto, the Netherlands-based company allegedly targeted, produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year, with major American mobile operators as well as 450 wireless network providers around the world among its customers.

 “As part of the covert operations against Gemalto, spies from GCHQ – with support from the NSA – mined the private communications of unwitting engineers and other company employees in multiple countries,” the report states.

  Google Warns on Gov’t Spying

Google said it is opposing an attempt by the US Justice Department to expand federal powers to search and seize digital data, warning that the changes would open the door to “US government hacking of any facility” in the world.

“The implications of this expansion of warrant power are significant, and are better addressed by Congress,” Google said in a statement.

The search giant warned that under updated proposals, FBI agents would be able to carry out covert raids on servers no matter where they were situated, giving the US government unfettered global access to vast amounts of private information.

Google sounds the alarm over the FBI’s desire to “remotely” search computers that have concealed their location – either through encryption or by obscuring their IP addresses using anonymity services. Those government searches, Google says, “may take place anywhere in the world.