Gemalto Claims Its Products Are ‘Secure’ Despite Alleged Hack By the NSA, GCHQ,
Gemalto’s SIM cards were reportedly hacked by the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and American National Security Agency (NSA) in a joint effort. The SIM card manufacturer now claims that its SIM cards, banking cards, passports and other products and platforms are secure and “the company doesn’t expect to endure a significant financial prejudice.”
We will know more details about the investigations being carried out by the company on Wednesday, February 25 at 10:30am in Paris.
The Intercept, the news organization run by Glenn Greenwald and backed by Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, broke the news of the hack after they received reports from NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
The reports suggested that GCHQ and NSA stole encryption keys of Gemalto’s networks that gave the two agencies access to mobile networks without getting an approval from the network operators. The keys allowed them to wiretap communications and read data usage of large amount of people around the world.
Electronic Frontier Foundations’ Mark Rumold told TechCrunch that having the decryption keys is “equivalent of these agencies having printed doorkeys for the front doors to millions or even billions of homes around the world, just in case they one day decided they needed to get in. Frankly, people should have no faith in the security of global mobile communications.”
Considering the size of Gemalto, which produces over 2 billion SIM cards per year and works with more than 600 operators worldwide including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, it was predicted that millions of people were affected by the hack.
The company opened the investigations last week and mentioned that it was unaware of the attack. Moreover, they also mentioned that no traces of hack were found on their products and platform.
Gemalto is now in a very complex situation and it needs to tread carefully. The company’s future will depend on the results of this conference which is to be held this week. If they are unable to clearly explain how their products are ‘secure,’ they would lose clients’ trust which would affect millions of people worldwide. This news has already planted the seed of doubt in their minds which would stay for some time.
Australian network operators Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone who are also the clients of Gemalto have opened investigations into the matter as well. They may order a mass recall of SIM cards in response to security concerns.