back to article New Snowden leak: US and Brit spooks 'tap into German telco networks to map end devices'

An NSA and GCHQ surveillance programme - dubbed Treasure Map - grants US and British spooks access to the networks of German telcos such as Deutsche Telekom, according to a new stash of leaked documents from Edward Snowden. Der Spiegel published the latest revelations today. However, Deutsche Telekom reportedly said it had …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Atlas of Cyberspace!

    That would yield pretty glossy pictures in A0 if true, but it would imply a certain percentage of visible surveillance traffic. Mysterious SNMP packets?

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: Atlas of Cyberspace!

      No need for active scanning when you pwn the tubes - just simply listen.


      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Atlas of Cyberspace!

        just simply listen.

        The Monsters under your Bed, are from the NSA, and not some creepy dream dimension.

    2. Stevie

      Re: Atlas of Cyberspace!

      Would that be a Cloud Atlas?

  2. RogerT

    It I had anything to do with treasure map I'd make very sure that it could remove itself in double quick time.

  3. Nolveys
    Thumb Up

    Just Good Business

    I'm sure that news like this has non-US corporations across the globe clambering to move their IT infrastructure to US cloud services.

  4. Christoph

    Did anyone seriously believe that the US were not doing things like this?

    If they have the technical capability then they will do it. Questions of law or morality are simply ignored. Anything that they can grab they will grab.

    1. Schultz

      With 20:20 hindsight ...

      after all the Snowden revelations, you are correct. But before, did anybody seriously believe the US would do all of those things on such a massive scale? Benevolent US, the giver of democracy and peace, selfless promoter of trade and wealth, ... well, replace that with selfish, scared bunch of greedy b**turds.

      They are willing to destroy all the trust that was built in the post cold-war period. Do you still expect the rising powers to constructively engage in a peaceful, multilateral world of trade and information exchange if the US subverts (or tries to subvert) every electronic device they can get their hand on? The US started the new cold war in cyberspace, let's hope it stays there.

      1. Christian Berger

        Re: With 20:20 hindsight ...

        Well Snowden delivered proof of this. Now it's not just allegations, but actual proof... particularly since the US essentially acknowledged it by going after Snowden and the journalists surrounding him.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: With 20:20 hindsight ...

          There is bound to be some Scheisse geht runter und schlägt den Propeller this Monday morning.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: With 20:20 hindsight ...

            Our organisations solution was easy, we install Chinese AND America routers, the war between our routers and also the malware on our PCs to eliminate each other reduces the amount of spyware. That's why routers run so hot, and PCs are running no faster than 20 years ago. (joking)

            As disk space is almost free, and considering that the T&C from Microsoft Hotmail and most other email providers have stated that they own all your emails for their own use for 10 or more years, you'd be naive to not assume governments had access too. Spy agencies do anything they like, malware has been around for decades, gosh it takes so long for some to be fixed.

      2. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: With 20:20 hindsight ...

        Actually, a moderately attentive and somewhat technically knowledgeable reader of James Bamford's "Body of Secrets", published in 2001 (not a typo), certainly ought to have been able to figure out the extent, although certainly not the details of NSA internet signals intelligence activities. And only the incurably dull even would consider it possible that the Russians and Chinese do not have similar, and similarly ambitious, programs.

        The same goes for the notion of "trust that was built in the post cold-war period." The Five Eyes governments trust each other to a considerable extent, but certainly expect to spy on, and be spied upon by each other; France, Germany, and the other NATO countries are nearly in the same category, as, probably, are Israel, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, although the levels of "trust", and of spying, vary. In the end, "trust' between nations always is limited, conditional, and subject to continual review and verification. Spying, including signals intelligence collection and analysis in particular, are some of the ways this is done.

        In fact, with more or less extensive signals intelligence activity by numerous governments, much of the world is nonetheless engaged in extensive and growing peaceful multilateral trade and information exchange. The Internet has been generally recognized as basically insecure for over twenty years; most people act as if they do not care, and somewhere between most and nearly all of the real damage to people has come in the form of fraud and other theft.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: I didn't believe the SCALE

        I can't agree more. I am staggered at how large all this is.

        It, however, doesn't seem to have stopped much in the way of global terrorism. Perhaps it really was for national economic gain after all.

        1. tom dial Silver badge

          Re: I didn't believe the SCALE

          Spying, including signals intelligence, began long before i"terrorism" was one of its targets. The NSA, after all, was established in 1952 as the successor to an Army agency dating back to or before the beginning of World War II. I believe much the same is true for GCHQ. It was different then, as there were no computer-based communications worthy of mention, but cables were tapped and radio signals collected long before there was an Internet. It would be quite surprising if adding new communication technology would change that significantly or that the new technology would somehow escape notice.

          Despite the great furor, it is worthwhile to ask whether signals intelligence agencies now collect a greater fraction of the global communication volume than their predecessors did 50 or 75 years ago. The answer is not entirely obvious: from WW II until the early 1970's, the NSA received a copy of nearly every telegram that entered or left the US. My personal inclination is to think that the overall communication volume has increased faster than the capability of signals intelligence agencies to absorb and make sense of them, but I could be wrong and would find an attempt to answer the question interesting indeed.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I didn't believe the SCALE

            In the hours before WW1 began in 1914, the British cabinet read intercepted copies of the secret cables sent to the German embassy in London from Berlin.

        2. Hans 1
          Black Helicopters

          Re: I didn't believe the SCALE

          It IS almost exclusively for "national economic gain", as I said numerous times, they do it so well with the help of the British services ... I mean, it is funny, they are even killing British jobs in favor of US jobs.

          I have very specific examples, but would not dare disclose them even as anon on here ...

          Shit, choppers, brb.

          * Tin foil hat [check]

          * keys to atomic bunker [check]

          * dog with lead [check]

          * shoes ...

          1. DanDanDan

            Re: I didn't believe the SCALE

            @Hans 1: You forgot your towel!!

        3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: I didn't believe the SCALE

          > It, however, doesn't seem to have stopped much in the way of global terrorism.

          It's worse than that: it leaves the US free to do things that provoke people into siding with terrorists because the US thinks it can detect potential terrorists before they become a danger. US citizens may not die, but plenty of non-US citizens will.

      2. LucreLout

        Re: I didn't believe the SCALE

        "It's the scale of what they were doing I find shocking, I did not think it'd go this far!"

        Agreed. I never viewed a willingness to do this as one of the restraining factors, when pre-Snowden, most assumed this wasn't being done. It was the capability.

        Now, the only safe assumption you can make is that everything you ever touched, or will touch, is compromised by as many nations spooks as possible, plus a few unethical hackers. Act appropriately.

      3. N13L5

        Re: I didn't believe the SCALE

        The Bank ruled UK and the Corporate States of America have long since outdone the 3rd Reich in both propaganda and surveillance.

        Nothing happens in U.S. Government that isn't at the behest of the ruling club of corporations and banks, owning FED, CFR and a general revolving door into any U.S. agency.

        Don't blame the Americans per se, except for being fast asleep in front of their puppet theater on TV, while digesting their toxic food and hence blind to what the club of fat cats is up to.

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    From the good old times from before the Summer of Surveillance

    The Athens Affair of 2005

    On 9 March 2005, a 38-year-old Greek electrical engineer named Costas Tsalikidis was found hanged in his Athens loft apartment, an apparent suicide. It would prove to be merely the first public news of a scandal that would roil Greece for months. The next day, the prime minister of Greece was told that his cellphone was being bugged, as were those of the mayor of Athens and at least 100 other high-ranking dignitaries, including an employee of the U.S. embassy. Major network penetrations of any kind are exceedingly uncommon. They are hard to pull off, and equally hard to investigate. ... We still don't know who committed this crime. A big reason is that the UK-based Vodafone Group, one of the largest cellular providers in the world, bobbled its handling of some key log files. It also reflexively removed the rogue software, instead of letting it continue to run, tipping off the perpetrators that their intrusion had been detected and giving them a chance to run for cover. The company was fined 76 million this past December.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From the good old times from before the Summer of Surveillance

      If the spooks leave any evidence behind they are not doing their jobs

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: From the good old times from before the Summer of Surveillance

        Your comment frightens me - it means you think they are doing their jobs now.

        So you think that they are hoovering up all this crap at vast expense and effort because it has some use and not because the pond-life who get paid to do it, do it want to do it just because they can and some analogue "democratic oversight ho ho statesman" will give them as much money as they ask for if they say "terrorism" enough times and don't slaver while they ask?

        I must be getting old......

  6. naive Silver badge

    It will be hard to win this battle

    It will be interesting to see how this will be prevented in the future. With social engineering, bribery or other methods, it will always be possible to persuade involved parties like equipment manufacturers, cabling companies and telecom employees helping in creating this type mass data harvesting infrastructure. Implementing encryption technology on all layers may help, but not totally prevent foreign powers to access telco data.

    May be we need to revert back to the good old state owned telecoms, where the employees were civil servants, and the company mission was to provide secure communications and not just optimizing next quarter profit to keep Wallstreet happy. But then, even that does not help if US based Apple, Google, MS and others are forced to implement spyware in their mobile Operating Systems.

    If we really do not want to be overheard, then we have to rethink, and not base all our decisions on the cheapest solution made of foreign technology.

    We could as well just join the US, at least we would have cheap gas and better cars, which is better then we have now in Europe: High taxes and incompetent governments when it comes to defense and security.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: better cars?

      huh? Not sure I get that link. Never known a Merkin car be anything 'better'.

  7. Caesarius

    Technical Limitations

    I remember looking at James Bond etc., where someone is bundled into the boot of a car and driven to the other side of a mountain range. Fortunately, he has a beacon inserted into his person, and his friends can monitor his position, to the nearest metre, at a range of a hundred miles. Oh my, how we laughed at such fiction, barely managing to suspend disbelief.

    But I do not hear myself laughing at Treasure Map.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Technical Limitations

      Why bother inserting the beacon, when they can be persuaded to carry it around themselves as the latest new shiny?

  8. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    September 11, 2001

    Wasn't it a windfall for the various spying agencies that, after a couple of weeks' training in Texas, those 19 Saudis were able to learn to fly commercial aircraft well enough that they were able to hit two skyscrapers?

    Without their successful attack, President Bush would have received much more resistance when signing PRISM into force, Congress would have debated the massive sums demanded by aforementioned spying agencies and we all might have been aware earlier of their plans.

    And furthermore, anyone who doesn't tow the official line is derided as a 'conspiracy nut' and belittled, partly because those who follow conspiracies don't do themselves or their causes any favours. Oh well, the War on Terror® has been, for some, a great success.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: September 11, 2001

      There is no doubt about that. Well-connected people made out like bandits. And now we have mercenary outfits pumped up with billions of dollars, apparently back in business against ISIS. One of those days, the president will be the one who chose to hide behind a curtain.

      Indeed, without the ANTHRAX attacks (anyone remember those), there might have been far less moral panic to sign anything into law waht lands on the desk, even a shit sandwich. Sadly the perp decided to commit suicide conveniently and in a most gruesome manner.

  9. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    "Deutsche Telekom: 'completely unacceptable, if true'"

    ....bu perfectly acceptable if false?

  10. Looper

    Sue the tw@ts

    Hopefully some non-five eyes corporation decides to sue the US/UK govts for their illegal activity on foreign networks. They have certainly broken national laws in various jurisdictions.

    In the same way as mostly north American corporates attempt to sue south American countries which prohibit mining in order to preserve their environment. In the same way as Monsanto tries to sue foreign countries for prohibiting their GM activities and products. In the same was as the US driven trans*-trade agreements try to make mandatory state liability to foreign corporations for loss of business for any reason even if in said country's national interest.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, spies spy

    So spies spy. Wow what a revelation. I'd be more surprised if the revelation was that they weren't doing this.

    Come on tell us something new. This is just like an episode of most haunted. Shh did you hear that?

  12. lucki bstard

    Anyone else remember the 2012 paper, 'Internet Census 2012' ( If all that is being done is mapping then its not much different from the census and shows the high skill but low cost required.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      An interesting paper indeed, and I suspect that NSA analysts both anticipated and read it. In large part, they appear to have extended and deepened the mapping, as might be expected of such an agency.

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