|Pawel Kopczynski / Reuters|
The latest documents from the National Security Agency leaked by Edward Snowden show that government spies are capable of listening in on mobile phone calls that use a common form of encryption, according to a Washington Post report. But if you’re vulnerable, blame your carrier — this code has been cracked for years.
The Post on Friday published confidential government documents provided by Snowden that show that the NSA can “process” cellular phone calls on GSM networks, even if they are encrypted. GSM, which stands for Global System for Mobile communications, is the world’s most widely used cellphone technology — though several large networks, notably Verizon and Sprint, rely on an older network technology called CDMA.
If true, NSA spying could “seriously undermine confidence in the security and privacy of online communications,” Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, said in a blog post. “In light of these allegations, we’ve decided to take immediate and coordinated action.”
Smith pledged to “pursue a comprehensive engineering effort to strengthen the encryption of customer data across our networks and services.” That includes major communications, productivity, and developer services such as Outlook.com, Office 365, SkyDrive, and Windows Azure.