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World's leading Simcard maker confirms British and US spooks "probably" stole security codes

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By Robert Hackwill
World's leading Simcard maker confirms British and US spooks "probably" stole security codes

The Franco-Dutch world number one simcard maker Gemalto has concluded its own investigation into a hacking of its security codes.

Last week an investigative website, acting on information supplied by whistleblower Edward Snowden, accused the British and American security services of the hack so they could monitor calls, texts and emails.

“This attack very likely has happened. We can correlate what is described in the document allegedly coming from the NSA or GCHQ with events we have observed. This attack was very innovative, it has never been seen before. So it was likely not done by a hacker or mafia as is usual,” said Gemalto’s boss Olivier Piou.

Gemalto added that legally it would be hard to prove, and that past attempts to sue a state had proven well-nigh impossible and ruinously expensive. How many codes had been stolen and how many had been used was even harder to say. Contacting the US or British intelligence agencies about the matter would be a “waste of time” the company said.

The attack was mainly but not only directed at countries in upheaval or with insecure regimes, or developing nations, and would not have affected users of newer 3G and 4G devices. The biggest example was the theft of 300,000 security codes from cards destined for Somalia.

The company’s statement outlining the likely limits of the hack helpedlift its shares 3.1 percent in late afternoon trading in Amsterdam to 71.54 euros, marking a full recovery from losses of as much as 
10% last Friday following the publication of the original report.