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SIM Card Producer Investigates US Intelligence Hack, Unable to Verify

Sputnik News

19:02 20.02.2015(updated 19:39 20.02.2015)

The US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) reportedly hacked into International SIM card producer Gemalto.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – International SIM card producer Gemalto, reportedly hacked by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is unable to verify the findings at present and is going to conduct a detailed investigation, the company said in a press release on Friday.

"We cannot at this early stage verify the findings of the publication and had no prior knowledge that these agencies were conducting this operation," the statement said. "We take this publication very seriously and will devote all resources necessary to fully investigate and understand the scope of such sophisticated techniques."

Gemalto emphasized that the target of the hack was not the company itself.

"It was an attempt to try and cast the widest net possible to reach as many mobile phones as possible, with the aim to monitor mobile communications without mobile network operators and users consent," the statement said.

On Thursday, The Intercept reported that a joint unit of GCHQ and NSA hacked SIM card encryption keys engraved in Gemalto and possibly other SIM cards vendors in 2010 and 2011. The details of the breach were discovered in a secret 2010 GCHQ document given to the online publication by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Major mobile operators, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and other providers use SIM cards produced by Gemalto based in the Netherlands.


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