Industry News

NSA and GCHQ Accessed Deutsche Telekom’s Networks via Treasure Map Program, Intercept Says

The US National Security Agency and the UK’s GCHQ appear to have access to the networks of Deutsche Telekom and other German internet providers, according to The Intercept.

The Treasure Map works as a kind of “Google Earth for global data traffic” as it’s practically a global internet data traffic map that reports in near real time.

“The program doesn’t just seek to chart data flows in large traffic channels, such as telecommunications cables,” the article said. “Rather, it seeks to identify and locate every single device that is connected to the internet somewhere in the world—every smartphone, tablet, and computer— `anywhere, all the time.’”

The Treasure Map program allegedly works as an internet reconnaissance tool that prepares the environment for computer attacks and exploitation.

The program is focused on the logical network layers of routers and autonomous systems, impacting application, datalink and physical layers.

The US Department of Defense (DoD), the NSA and the Five-Eyes partners (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the US) are said to have access to the Treasure Map program.

The documentation of the program also gives details on data sources such as OSIMT (Open Source Intel), Academic trace-routing projects and SIGINT (Signals Intelligence).

Commercial sources paid for their reporting of trace-routes to the NSA’s Treasure Map present in the documentation are Akamai, SOCIALSTAMT and SEASIDEFERRY.

Besides Deutsche Telekom, other impacted German companies seem to be the satellite communications company Stellar PCS and regional internet provider Netcologne.

The announcement of the Treasure Map project came shortly after Deutsche Telekom expanded its presence in Eastern Europe by acquiring Romania-based Cosmote mobile carrier and the landline provider Romtelecom.

About the author

Lucian Ciolacu

Still the youngest Bitdefender News writer, Lucian is constantly after flash news in the security industry, especially when something is vulnerable or exploited. Besides digging for 'hacker' scoops and data leaks, he enjoys sports, such as football and tennis.
He has also combined an interest for social and political sciences, as a graduate of the Political Science Faculty, with a passion for guitar and computer games.