Notorious whistleblower Edward Snowden has stated that the United Kingdom has been able to gain sufficient amounts of communication data by hacking routers scattered throughout the geographical region of Pakistan.
The action was executed in order to identify terrorists residing in the country. The hack was carried out by Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), who compromised the security of routers manufactured by American firm Cisco in order to gain access to that data.
This was revealed during an interview with the BBC. Additionally, Snowden also said that these actions were committed after taking permission from the British government and their paramount purpose was to identify terrorists taking shelter in Pakistan.
CISCO router were hacked in Pakistan in order to identify potential terrorists
The 32 year old, who has now been living in exile since 2013, also said that the British agencies can also hack into the user’s phone remotely by sending something as minuscule in significance as a text message, and a result, they can make audio recordings, or snap images of the users without their consent, or knowledge.
According to Snowden, he states the following:
The GCHQ had the power to hack into phones without their owner’s knowledge.
At this current point, the government of the United Kingdom has been unavailable to comment on Snowden’s claims, but we are confident that a copout will be just around the corner. Snowden has also stated that GCHQ’s “Smurf Suite” is “the power management tool which means turning your phone on and off with you knowing.”
The ‘Smurf’ suite of tools can hack into your phone, turn it on, take pictures and track location without leaving any trace
The 32 year old also pointed out that another smartphone application by the name of Nosey Smurf can also be used in order to listen in on everything that’s going on around the smartphone user’s surroundings. The scary part about this revelation is that even if the user’s phone has been powered off, the intelligence agencies are resourceful enough to switch it back off, assuming there is enough battery life remaining in them.
Tracker Smurf, according to Edward Snowden, is a geo-location tool. This tool will allow GCHQ to pinpoint a user’s location with much greater accuracy as opposed to figuring out the location by triangulating signals from different cellphone towers.
As terrifying as it is, GCHQ should have a response for these claims in the near future. We implore the Pakistani government to take up this issue on a state level. With billions spent on Pakistan’s security, we aren’t seemingly doing a good job of protecting ourselves in cyberspace.