The NSA Has Even Listened In On Encrypted UN Communications

The NSA Has Even Listened In On Encrypted UN Communications

According to documents read by Der Spiegel, the NSA was able to bypass the United Nations’ videoconferencing system in summer 2012 and decrypted 446 internal communications in three weeks for a total of 458. Der Spiegel quoted the documents (translated from German) as saying that the hack had, “a dramatic improvement of the data from video teleconferencing and the ability to decrypt this traffic.”

At one point the NSA noticed that Chinese intelligence had also attempted to infiltrate UN internal videoconferencing, though spying on the UN is illegal internationally.

Der Spiegel‘s report comes on the heels of other information from the documents leaked by Edward Snowden about the NSA listening in on the communications of EU embassies in the U.S., hacking their VPNs.

Der Spiegel also notes claims that there is a U.S. embassy monitoring initiative, “Special Collection Service,” in more than 80 embassies/consulates , often without the knowledge of the host country.

Unrelated, but equally troubling, Bloomberg reported yesterday that at least one NSA agent abused the body’s reach to spy on love interests. The practice may have been common, at least common enough to merit its own name, “LOVEINT.” [GigaOM, Der Spiegel, Bloomberg]