The logo of Deutsche Telekom is pictured on the TV tower in the German city of Cologne.(REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)
The National Security Agency is facing more allegations of cyber-snooping after reportedly targeting German telecom networks Deutsche Telekom and Netcologne as part of a sophisticated program to map the Internet.
Citing top-secret documents provided by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, German newspaper Der Spiegel reports that the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, have targeted the firms as part of a program dubbed “Treasure Map.” Described by Der Spiegel as the mandate for a massive raid on the digital world, Treasure Map aims to make every single device connected to the Internet visible to the agencies, including computers, smartphones and tablets.
The report notes that employees of the so-called FiveEyes intelligence agencies — Americas NSA and its counterparts in the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, can install the Treasure Map program for monitoring purposes. The program can also help with Computer Attack/Exploit Planning, according to the report.
Der Spiegel cites red markings on the documents denoting networks that agents claim to have accessed. Global telecom powerhouse Deutsche Telekom and German regional provider Netcologne are both reportedly marked in red.
With German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the center of a controversy over an alleged NSA phone tap, Der Spiegels report comes at a time of heightened sensitivity in Germany over the agencys operations.
Michela Menting, cybersecurity practice director at the tech analyst firm ABI Research, told FoxNews.com that targeting telecom firms could offer intelligence agencies an easier path to information than targeting individuals and groups. Deutsche Telekom is a Tier One operator, which means that both its scale and customer base is huge global, of course a goldmine for any national security agency, she said. Since Germany is clearly not part of the five eyes, they are a target, despite being allies.
Deutsche Telekom provides a range of network, TV and mobile services to more than 60 million customers in Germany. Globally, the company has nearly 130 million customers.
However, Deutsche Telekom told FoxNews.com that it could not find any evidence that its networks were manipulated, even after weeks of investigation with experts from Der Spiegel.
Right now, there is nothing more than a circle around a part of our network in a document provided by Edward Snowden, explained Deutsche Telekom spokesman Philipp Blank, in a statement emailed to FoxNews.com. Nevertheless, we take every hint very seriously and we have informed German security authorities. Any access by foreign intelligence services to our networks would be totally unacceptable.
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NSA snooping furor continues