LONDON — Gemalto, a French-Dutch digital security company, said on Wednesday that it believed that American and British intelligence agencies had most likely hacked into the company’s networks in an attempt to gain access to worldwide mobile phone communications. But it said that the intrusions had only limited effect.
Gemalto said that the attacks had occurred over two years, starting in 2010, but that the National Security Agency of the United States and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, had failed to gain wholesale access to the company’s SIM card encryption codes.
The company is the world’s largest producer of cellphone SIM cards — the small chips in cellphones that hold an individual’s personal security and identity information — and its networks could have given American and British intelligence agencies the ability to collect mobile voice and data communications without the permission of governments or telecommunications providers.
“If the 2G SIM card encryption keys were to be intercepted by the intelligence services,” Gemalto said, “it would be technically possible for them to spy on communications when the SIM card was in use in a mobile phone.”
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