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The NSA and GCHQ gave themselves a direct line into your phone

According to new documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA and its UK counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), hacked into the computers of Gemalto, a company that manufactures SIM cards for a large number of carriers around the world. In doing so, the intelligence agencies acquired encryption keys that would allow them to intercept communications from customers of all four major U.S. carriers, along with 450 others around the world.

Snowden, who has been a blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs since 2013, leaked the documents to The Intercept, which broke the news earlier today:

With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. 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. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.

It's difficult to assess the extent and effects of this breach right now, but it definitely represents a massive blow to mobile security, as The Intercept notes that Gemalto produces 2 billion SIM cards each year — making it highly likely that the SIM in your phone was produced by the company.

For much more on this, check out The Intercept's full report from the source link below.

Source: The Intercept; Via: The Verge

15 Comments
  • Did anyone other than Rene think otherwise? Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Um...why the heck isn't this FRONT PAGE news on every news website??? This is invasion of privacy to the HIGHEST degree. Unbelievable.
  • Because they're too busy talking about the Oscars, sports, and Selena Gomez going topless. And you know what? People eat it up. They want bread and circuses, and that's what the mass media gives them.
  • Really? Seriously? You believed all the apple shit saying your phone was safe? Lemme tell you something... If you're communicating with someone other than the person next to you .. Someone is listening. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • This sucks. I'm not a terrorist and am tired of being treated like one. Our rights are being trampled. Sent from the iMore App
  • Wake up. You never had any. The best way to incarcerate people is to make them believe they're free (that way they don't try to escape/defy). Ask yourself two questions;
    1) what choices do you have where the options haven't been predetermined.
    2) what are your opinions mostly based on? Reading words & making assumptions or first hand experience of the subject matter? Neat system huh? Neat but evil. Sent from the iMore App
  • My opinions are mostly based on what I have read. I read a lot of different things, though rarely news other than tech news. I would say that primarily my opinions are based from scientific articles I have read. Religion isn't really a factor, though I have read the bible. You do have a point about options being limited though on choices. Still, I don't approve of an invasion of privacy. I want more rights, not less. Sent from the iMore App
  • Nazis!! Sent from the iMore App
  • Now I see why iMessage is such a loophole. Sent from the iMore App
  • +1 Sent from the iMore App
  • things like this are why i oppose an all-powerful central government. we will get the exact level of tyranny that we tolerate, it's time to become intolerant of government. it's time we stop all of these right-infringing programs that get people hooked on handouts and make them dependent on government and start relearning what liberty is all about!
  • This will affect any phone with that sim . Not only iPhones Sent from the iMore App
  • The biggest difference is that the windows and Android users haven't been in denial over it for years on end. Why do you think people buy burners? Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • George Orwell would be proud. Or maybe not.
  • I don't know why people are bothered by this kind of thing. Why should I care if the govt wants to spy on my phone, oh nooo some pics of my kids and a nudie I sent to my husband! They're not looking for this stuff, they don't care about my boring little life, what are ya'll hiding?? Sent from the iMore App