UK and US spies hack SIM card database, gaining access to billions of phones

UK and US authorities must be wondering when the revelations from National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden are going to stop coming…

Documents revealed to The Intercept suggest that British and American spies hacked into Gemalto, the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer, stealing encryption keys that allowed them to monitor both the calls and data of billions of mobile phones that use the company’s SIM cards.

Dutch company Gemalto produces around two billion SIM cards a year for some of the major players in the market, including AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. Mark Rumfold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, commented that “They have the functional equivalent of our house keys”.

The hack basically gave the NSA and GCHQ the ability to spy en masse without getting caught. While their actions no doubt breach Dutch and other international laws, what will be done about it – if anything – remains to be seen.

Let’s not forget that the NSA previously targeted Angel Merkel, among others. This latest revelation will not help already strained diplomatic relations between the US and the rest of the world when it comes to enforcing rules on cyber security and international spying.

Nation states moving with the times and spying on each other in cyberspace is one thing, but what are we expected to think when revelations like this lead us to believe that we’re all under surveillance?

Fortunately I’m not with any of the phone providers mentioned above, so of course no one will be monitoring me. I’ll be just fine, won’t I? [CLICK] Hello? Hello? Is there someone there…?