Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageNSA's 'Treasure Map' targets, hacks German companies

By Greta McClain     Sep 20, 2014 in World
In what is yet another example of the NSA overexerting its legal authority, leaked documents reveal that NSA and British intelligence agents targeted, infiltrated and gathered data from German satellite and telecommunication companies.
In November of last year, the New York Times reported plans by the National Security Agency (NSA) to "collect virtually everything available in the digital world." The plans were outlined in a NSA document called Sigint Strategy 2012-2016. The document reveled the agency's mission of dominating "Sigint battle space” by identifying "new access, collection and exploitation methods by leveraging global business trends in data and communications services", with an ultimate goal of “dramatically increas[ing] mastery of the global network.” In order to reach that goal, the NSA instituted a program code-named Treasure Map.
According to a leaked NSA Power Point presentation, Treasure Map relies on Internet routing data to collect Wi-Fi network and geolocation information, as well as 30 million and 50 million unique Internet provider addresses.
NSA Power Point presentation describes how Treasure Map operates
NSA Power Point presentation describes how Treasure Map operates
Screen Capture
NSA Power Point presentation describes how Treasure Map operates
NSA Power Point presentation describes how Treasure Map operates
Screen Capture
The presentation also describes plans the agency has to use this data to spy on thirteen countries, including long time allies of the United States. Those countries include Poland, Germany, Denmark, South Africa and India, among others.
A Power Point presentation shows NSA plans to spy on 13 countries.
A Power Point presentation shows NSA plans to spy on 13 countries.
Screen Capture
The NSA presentation even goes so far as to brag that Treasure Map will "map the entire Internet - any device, anywhere, all the time", and that it will monitor "your own network" as well as networks of "adversaries".
NSA presentation detailing operation Treasure Map
NSA presentation detailing operation Treasure Map
Screen Capture
As reported by Digital Journal in July of this year, the NSA's own FISA Fact Sheet prohibits the gathering of information on U.S. citizens, and if information is obtained "inadvertently," such information must be immediately destroyed.
Although Treasure Map is the brain child of the NSA, it is a partnership with what is known as "FiveEyes". "FiveEyes" includes agents with the NSA, as well as agents from British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand intelligence agencies.
Documents from the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British intelligence and security agency details how Treasure Map was used to obtain server, router, and IP addresses, as well as the names and emails of employees with the German satellite operator, Stellar.
GXHQ document showing how Treasure Map was used to spy on Stellar  a German satellite company.
GXHQ document showing how Treasure Map was used to spy on Stellar, a German satellite company.
Screen Capture
According to the German news organization, Der Spiegel, Treasure Map also shows it has been able to access information from two German telecommunication companies, Deutsche Telekom AG and Netcologne. Additional documents shows data was also gathered on other German companies, including Ce-Tel Communications and IABG, which assists in the planning and evaluation of systems used by the German Federal Armed Forces.
GCHQ documents showing German companies that Treasure Map targeted.
GCHQ documents showing German companies that Treasure Map targeted.
Screen Capture
A spokesman for Deutsche Telekom AG pointed out that the company is part of the TAT14 telecommunications cable consortium which makes "the accessing of [the] network by foreign intelligence agencies....completely unacceptable."
Since Netcologne is a regional provider and access to the network more than likely had to be made within Germany itself, raises more than just diplomatic concerns, it raises legal questions as well. Der Spiegel states unauthorized access of the networks while within Germany is a violation of German law and may potentially be brought to German public prosecutors.
Christian Steffen, chief engineer for Stellar, also accused "FiveEyes" of illegally accessing the companies servers, telling The Intercept:
“The hacked server has always stood behind our company’s own firewall. The only way of accessing it is if you first successfully break into our network. A cyber attack of this nature is a clear criminal offense under German law."
Diplomatic relations between the United States and Germany were already tense after it was revealed that the NSA was eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone. How this latest information involving NSA overreach will impact the relationship between the two countries remains to be seen. However, at a time when the United States is attempting to garner widespread support in the war against ISIS, spying on and hacking into the servers of allied countries may not be the best way to enlist trust, support and cooperation.
More about Nsa, National security agency, United States, Great britain, Spying
More news from
Latest News
Top News