The USA’s National Security Agency hacked into SEA-Me-We-4, a subsea cable system that connects Europe to Asia via the Middle East and North Africa, according to documents seen by German news site, Spiegel Online International.
The documents, part of the haul of information leaked by computer analyst and whistleblower, Edward Snowden, reveal that the NSA’s dedicated hacking unit, the TAO (Tailored Access Operations) "successfully collected network management information for the SEA-Me-We Undersea Cable Systems (SMW-4)" on February 13, 2013.
With the help of a "website masquerade operation," the NSA managed to "gain access to the consortium's management website and collected Layer 2 network information that shows the circuit mapping for significant portions of the network", according to the report.
The leaked document also states that the TAO team at the NSA hacked an internal website of the SEA-Me-We consortium and copied documents about technical infrastructure.
The document also suggested further attacks were in the pipeline. "More operations are planned in the future to collect more information about this and other cable systems," the document stated, according to Spiegel Online.
The SEA-Me-We-4 cable system connects Europe to Asia via the Middle East and North Africa. The system is owned by a consortium of 16 telecom operators including Etisalat, Orange, SingTel and Telecom Egypt.
The full report from Spiegel Online International can be read here.