Post by synchron on Dec 4, 2014 20:05:11 GMT 1
How the NSA Hacks Cellphone Networks Worldwide
In March 2011, two weeks before the Western intervention in Libya, a
secret message was delivered to the National Security Agency. An
intelligence unit within the U.S. military’s Africa Command needed help
to hack into Libya’s cellphone networks and monitor text messages.
For the NSA, the task was easy. The agency had already obtained
technical information about the cellphone carriers’ internal systems by
spying on documents sent among company employees, and these details
would provide the perfect blueprint to help the military break into the
The NSA’s assistance in the Libya operation, however, was not an
isolated case. It was part of a much larger surveillance program—global
in its scope and ramifications—targeted not just at hostile countries.
According to documents contained in the archive of material provided to The Intercept
by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA has spied on hundreds of
companies and organizations internationally, including in countries
closely allied to the United States, in an effort to find security
weaknesses in cellphone technology that it can exploit for surveillance.
The documents also reveal how the NSA plans to secretly introduce new
flaws into communication systems so that they can be tapped into—a
controversial tactic that security experts say could be exposing the
general population to criminal hackers.
Codenamed AURORAGOLD, the covert operation has monitored the content
of messages sent and received by more than 1,200 email accounts
associated with major cellphone network operators, intercepting
confidential company planning papers that help the NSA hack into phone
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