NSA Breached German Telcos to Map the Internet

US spy agency the NSA allegedly infiltrated the internal networks of two German telcos as part of an ambitious project to map the entire internet in real-time, according to the latest revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Top secret documents obtained by Der Spiegel claim to detail “Treasure Map," a scheme described by the German magazine as a “Google Earth for global data traffic.”

Although Treasure Map was first reported by the New York Times last November, the new documents are said to reveal more details about the operation – the goal of which is to "map the entire internet – any device, anywhere, all the time."  

The docs show two networks marked in red, indicating they have already been accessed by the agencies.

They belong to Netcologne, a fiber optic network provider with 400,000 German customers, and Deutsche Telekom – a tier 1 company with over 60 million German customers and operations in the UK and US.

“The accessing of our network by foreign intelligence agencies would be completely unacceptable," a Telekom spokesperson told Der Spiegel.

However, both companies have apparently so far failed to find any signs of suspicious activity on their networks.

If the NSA did access either firm’s network from within Germany, which is likely with domestic provider Netcologne, it would be a matter for the country’s prosecutors, who are already investigating the alleged tapping of Angela Merkel’s phone.

It must be added that Treasure Map is designed to be used by agents from all Five Eyes intelligence organizations including the UK’s GCHQ.

Der Spiegel also revealed a top secret document from GCHQ purporting to show how the agency has targeted German satellite communications company Stellar as part of those plans to map the internet.

The document includes secret internal server passwords, which would seem to indicate that the spy agency has broken local laws as part of its surveillance efforts.

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?