WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The National Security Agency is able to hack on cell phone networks around the world, reports CNet.
The warnings comes from The Intercept, which sifted through the enormous amount of information and computer files leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The covert program, code-named Auroragold, allows agents to exploit security vulnerabilities in cell phone networks to help them eavesdrop on calls and text messages.
Agents can even create computer virus-like programs to break into cellular networks.
According to The Intercept, the Auroragold program has been continuously monitoring communications for several years, using more than 1,200 email accounts linked to the companies that operate the biggest cell phone networks, including AT&T, Cisco, Microsoft, Samsung and Vodafone.
The NSA has obtained technical information from about 70 percent of the world’s cellular networks, including nearly all in North Africa, many in the Middle East, and nearly three-quarters in China, states the report.
The report reveals that Auroragold is controlled by a special unit within the NSA, called the Wireless Portfolio Management Office. Its logo contains the motto: “predict, plan, prevent.”
The NSA would not confirm the details of the program. Spokeswoman Vanee Vines issued a statement saying the agency is doing nothing illegal: “NSA collects only those communications that it is authorized by law to collect in response to valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence requirements, regardless of the technical means used by foreign targets, or the means by which those targets attempt to hide their communications.”
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