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Gemalto says SIM products are secure, despite Snowden leaks

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SIM card manufacturer Gemalto has said that its SIM products are secure despite reports that US and UK spy agencies had stolen the encryption keys. The company, which produces around 2 billion SIM cards annually, including supplying all four major US carriers, said in a statement that initial results from an internal investigation "indicate that Gemalto SIM products (as well as banking cards, passports and other products and platforms) are secure." The statement offers no more details but Gemalto says it will discuss the full investigation at a press event this Wednesday.

The company's statement seems to directly contradict the report by The Intercept from last week. Based on leaked documents from Edward Snowden, The Intercept's report claimed that the NSA and GCHQ carried out a significant operation "stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe." The report also notes that a breach of Gemalto's network might mean that its other products — such as smart chips used in bank cards and passports — are also unsafe, but the company's statement says explicitly that these are also "secure." We'll have to wait until Wednesday to find out more.