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The Great SIM Heist: How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle

The Great SIM Heist: How Spies Stole the Keys to the Encryption Castle
AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data. The company targeted by the intelligence agencies, Gemalto, is a multinational firm incorporated in the Netherlands that makes the chips used in mobile phones and next-generation credit cards. In all, Gemalto produces some 2 billion SIM cards a year. Its motto is “Security to be Free.” GCHQ slide.

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With $15 in Radio Shack parts, 14-year-old hacks a car A teenager not even old enough to drive a car was able to wirelessly connect to a vehicle's internal computer network and control various functions. The 14-year-old built an electronic remote auto communications device with $15 worth of Radio Shack parts that were assembled in less than a night. Auto executives at a conference this week sponsored by the Center for Automotive Research revealed how stunned they were by the feat, which actually happened last summer, noting it shed light on the need for greater security as vehicles gain more wireless capabilities. The boy, whose name is not being released, was among 30 other students ranging in age from high school to college undergraduates to PhD students who participated in the third annual Battelle CyberAuto Challenge.

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