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The massive Gemalto hack may have been too sophisticated to stop

A few days ago it was revealed that the GCHQ and NSA had conducted one of their most daring spying operations to date which involved hacking the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards and acquiring thousands of the secure encryption keys that protect these cards. While the company, Gemalto, confirmed that a hack took place, it has been downplaying things quite a bit. However, many experts aren’t convinced. 

A new Snowden leak a few days ago revealed that the NSA and GCHQ conducted a complex hack operation that focused on obtaining the secure encryption keys that protect mobile communications in devices with SIM cards. A subsequent report revealed that the goal of spy agencies might have been a lot bigger, as they may have been hunting for other security keys that would let them deploy spyware on any mobile device with a SIM card inside, and users would have no idea that anything had happened. Gemalto acknowledged the hack, but downplayed it, saying it couldn’t have resulted in a mass-theft of SIM card keys. The company also said that even if the hack was successful, it wouldn’t actually be useful against 3G and 4G technologies. But The Intercept, which first shed light on the matter, has now raised several questions on the validity of Gemalto’s reassuring claims.

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