SIM-Card Maker Probing NSA, British Spy Hacking Report

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Digital-security company Gemalto is looking into a report that British and American intelligence agencies hacked its systems and stole encryption keys that keep mobile phone communications private.

Online investigative newsmagazine The Intercept, citing documents provided by Edward Snowden, reported on Thursday that the NSA cooperated with British intelligence agency the General Communications Headquarters on the hack –- which gave spies the ability to monitor voice and data communications on mobile phones around the world, according to the report.

These hacking allegations have not been independently confirmed by NBC News. The NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Gemalto, which is based in the Netherlands, makes the SIM cards that function as a phone's ID and keep that information secure.

“We take this publication very seriously and will devote all resources necessary to fully investigate and understand the scope of such sophisticated techniques,” Gemalto said in a statement on Friday.

“The publication indicates the target was not Gemalto per se -– it was an attempt to try and cast the widest net possible to reach as many mobile phones as possible, with the aim to monitor mobile communications without mobile network operators and users consent,” the statement said. “We cannot at this early stage verify the findings of the publication and had no prior knowledge that these agencies were conducting this operation.”



--- NBC News Staff