NSA, GCHQ crack Deutsche Telekom to ‘map entire Internet’
Snowden documents show rendered relief maps including end-user devices
US and British spy agencies cracked networks belonging to German telecoms operator Deutsche Telekom in a bid to "map the entire Internet", German daily Der Spiegel claimed yesterday, citing documents leaked by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Referring to top-secret operations colourfully dubbed "Evil Olive", "Egoistic Giraffe" and "Treasure Map", the newspaper outlined a scheme in which no part of the Net would remain untouched. Under the Treasure Map programme, the US National Security Agency and Britain's GCHQ sought to tap all cables, routers and end devices, in the name of security. The result is a relief map of the Internet.
The so-called FiveEyes intelligence co-operative, involving agencies from US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, can use the map not only to monitor activity, but to launch cyber-attacks, making it an all-purpose digital weapons platform. Der Spiegel claimed it had seen example maps in which Deutsche Telekom and Netcologne, a Cologne-based provider, are marked in red and labelled "Red Core Nodes: SIGINT [signals intelligence] Collection access points within AS [autonomous systems]."
Netcologne runs its own fibre-optic network and plays host to over 400,000 customers, according to Der Speigel. Deutsche Telekom, in which the German government owns a 31.7% stake, is a Tier 1 provider that domestically serves around 60m subscribers.
Der Spiegel speculated that, for now, Treasure Map may only be able to monitor the networks of these companies including transient data and subscribers' devices.
"The accessing of our network by foreign intelligence agencies would be completely unacceptable," said a Deutsche Telekom spokesperson.