SIM-Card Maker Says Billions Of Cellphones Are Secure Despite Massive NSA Hack

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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Gemalto, the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards, said Monday that cellphones using its products are secure despite the recent report that British and U.S. intelligence agencies stole the company’s data encryption keys.

“Initial conclusions already indicate that Gemalto SIM products (as well as banking cards, passports and other products and platforms) are secure and the company doesn’t expect to endure a significant financial prejudice,” the company said in a statement on its website.

Last week The Intercept reported that the National Security Agency, with help from Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, stole mobile data encryption keys belonging to Gemalto, which produces 2 billion SIM cards annually for the largest wireless providers in the U.S. and Britain. Such keys would give the agencies access to billions of individual phones on a global scale. (World’s Largest SIM-Card Maker Investigates NSA/GCHQ Hack, Gave Agencies Access To Billions Of Cellphones)

The statement implies a contradiction with The Intercept report, which was based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Gemalto said it will go into the specifics of its investigation during a press conference Wednesday.

Gemalto has suffered a near-$500 million stock hit since the publishing of the report, which said SIM card makers didn’t always take secure steps to ensure the safeguarding of encryption keys.

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