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New Snowden leak reveals US hacked Chinese cell companies, accessed millions of sms - report

Published time: June 23, 2013 06:35
Edited time: June 25, 2013 10:49
 A computer workstation bears the National Security Agency (NSA) logo inside the Threat Operations Center inside the Washington suburb of Fort Meade, Maryland (AFP Photo)

A computer workstation bears the National Security Agency (NSA) logo inside the Threat Operations Center inside the Washington suburb of Fort Meade, Maryland (AFP Photo)

US government has been hacking Chinese mobile operator networks to intercept millions of text messages, as well as the operator of region’s fibre optic cable network, South China Morning Post writes citing Edward Snowden.

More information on National Security Agency activity in China and Hong Kong has been revealed by SCMP on Sunday, shedding light on statements Snowden made in an interview on June 12.

“The NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cell phone companies to steal all of your SMS data,” Snowden was quoted as saying on the SCMP's website.

In a series of reports the paper claims Snowden has provided proof of extensive US hacking activity in the region.

View of the National Security Agency (NSA) in the Washington suburb of Fort Meade, Maryland (AFP Photo)

The former CIA technician and NSA contractor reportedly provided to the paper the documents detailing specific attacks on computers over a four-year period, including internet protocol (IP) addresses, dates of attacks and whether a computer was still being monitored remotely. SCMP however did not reveal any supporting documents.

The US government has been accused of a security breach at the Hong Kong headquarters of the operator of the largest regional fibre optic cable network operator, Pacnet. Back in 2009, the company’s computers were hacked by the NSA but since then the operation has been shut down, according to the documents the paper claims to have seen.

Pacnet’s network spans across Hong Kong, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore and provides connections to 16 data centers for telecom companies, corporations and governments across the region.

The whistleblower has also allegedly revealed the US had viewed millions of text messages by hacking Chinese mobile phone companies. That is a significant claim since the Chinese sent almost billion text messages in 2012 and China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile network carrier.

Experts man their stations at the Threat Operations Center inside the National Security Agency (NSA) in suburban Fort Mead, Maryland (AFP Photo)
In his very first leak to the media, Snowden had already exposed the scale of the American government spying operation on its domestic mobile network operators. He later revealed that the US and the UK possessed technology to access the Blackberry phones of delegates at two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009.

In a third article, SCMP claims that the US on a regular basis has been attacking the servers at Tsinghua University, one of country’s biggest research institutions. The whistleblower said that information obtained pointed to hacking activities, because it contained such details as external and internal IP addresses in the University’s network, which could only have been retrieved by a security breach.

Tsinghua University is host to one of Chinas’ six major backbone networks, the China Education and Research Network (CERNET) containing data about millions of Chinese citizens.

Edward Snowden (AFP Photo)


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