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NSA Hacked The UN By Cracking Its Internal Video-Conferencing System

The code was cracked in the Summer of 2012, and within weeks the NSA had decrypted over 450 documents.

NSA Hacked The UN By Cracking Its Internal Video-Conferencing System

German publication Der Spiegel is reporting (via Google Translate) that the NSA successfully hacked the United Nations.

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The agency apparently cracked the encryption code needed for the organization’s internal videoconferencing calls, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, which also show that the NSA’s bugging of the European Union (first revealed at the end of June) continued even after the EU moved embassies in September 2012. Within weeks of the code being cracked, the number of documents decrypted by the NSA had increased almost 40-fold, from 12 to 458.

Surveillance of the UN is illegal under international law–although the U.S. Government is not the only power guilty of this. Apparently, when the NSA first cracked the code, it discovered that China had also had the same idea of breaking into the UN’s communications system. This weekend, the Guardian also revealed that some NSA operatives had used agency tools for personal matters, with one person tracking his spouse.

The documents also reveal that the U.S. kept tabs on goings-on in around 80 of its embassies, without the host nation’s knowledge.

[Image: Flickr user Jason Paris]

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.

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