The NSA has been working for years, hacking and snooping into cellphone networks worldwide and is bypassing the security measures according to Edward Snowden documents revealed by The Intercept on Thursday.
The Snowden documents reveal a highly confidential operation named AURORAGOLD. The operation was conducted to obtain information pertaining to cell phone carriers’ internal systems and to find chinks and vulnerabilities which could be exploited by NSA to hack into services. It is because of AURORAGOLD, NSA has been able to obtain technical information on about 70 percent of cellphone networks worldwide, as of May 2012.
A fresh set of Snowden documents which was released last year revealed that NSA was taking advantage of an archaic encryption technology which is still used widely- the A5/1 protocol, to effectively spy on conversation and texts. The latest treasure trove of information reveals that NSA is making inroads into the latest cellphone encryption technologies, such as A5/3.
To achieve this end, NSA is snooping on the internal emails of cellphone company’s employees. NSA is also spying on GSM Association. GSM Association is a large London-based trade conglomerate that represents numerous carriers such as Verizon, AT&T and Vodafone, as well as technology firms such as Microsoft, Facebook, Nokia and Samsung.
The Snowden documents which was first published in the Intercept also reveals that the NSA has managed to build considerable network coverage spanning across many countries in the world. Snowden documents earlier this year revealed that the NSA was able to spy on the entire cellphone networks of two countries: the Bahamas and Afghanistan. NSA has developed technology to bypass Internet encryption.
One major area of concern with NSA activities is that the NSA finds a flaw in a technology but does not alert the makers to fix it leaving the field wide open for others to exploit the flaw too.