The Intercept released more of the documents provided to them by whistle-blower Edward Snowden yesterday. In the recently released documents, it is revealed that the US Government and their allies in the UK hacked into the network of the world’s largest SIM card maker in an admittedly creative way to steal people’s information.
This revelation ironically comes at the same time as Obama’s signing of a ‘cyber-security’ executive order supposedly meant to keep Americans safe from hackers and cyber criminals.
According to the leaked info, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) along with the NSA stole encryption keys from the company Gemalto, the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world. Gemalto makes about 2 billion SIM cards per year “used by 450 wireless network providers around the world, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint,” RT reports.
The implications of this are kind of incomprehensible. With these encryption keys, the US and UK are able to sidestep any regulations requiring warrants to conduct surveillance. According to The Intercept,
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.”
This isn’t even close to the first time the US Government was caught demonstrating total hypocrisy; this time with its policies on cyber security and hacking. While politicians go around touting cybersecurity for Americans, they are secretly supporting policies which are responsible for the direct hacking of nearly every American.
Recently, a conference was held in Mexico and a report from Kaspersky Lab determined that several computer worms seem to have originated from the US Government. Among a broad selection of pieces of evidence to support this, infection rates are significantly higher in Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and places that are obvious targets for the US Government. For the American government, this seems to be a classic case of ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’