back to article Angela Merkel's phone was being listened in on by FIVE foreign powers

German chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile was wire-tapped by at least five foreign intelligence agencies, unnamed German security officials have told Focus magazine. The bugging of the premier's BlackBerry by the US provoked an international diplomatic incident and a promise by the Obama administration to lay off in future. But …

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  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    The Norks as well?

    Hang your head in shame german security services. Maybe shortstuff wanted a date?

    1. Shakes

      Re: The Norks as well?

      Never underestimate a starving hacker.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: The Norks as well?

        Never underestimate a starving hacker.

        Shakes,

        Rubbish! It's a known fact that computers won't operate, unless in the presence of both pizza and coffee.

      2. Crisp Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Never underestimate a starving hacker.

        If he's a Nork hacker then he's probably got a gun to his head.

        And if Swordfish taught us anything, it's that hackers with a gun to their head code approximately 182% faster.

        1. Shakes
          Pint

          Re: Never underestimate a starving hacker.

          Yeah, gun to the head, and head to the...

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: Never underestimate a starving hacker.

            Why U watch bad movies?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Hello Angela

    Do you mind if we make this a conference call ?

  3. Dazed and Confused

    A lesson from history

    You would have thought that given the lessons of history that any German leader would naturally distrust any form wireless communication.

    1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      Re: A lesson from history

      If only she had some kind of uncrackable electro-mechanical rotor cipher machine...

      Oh. Wait.

  4. Graham Marsden
    Black Helicopters

    Take it as a compliment, Angela...

    ... after all, to misquote Oscar Wilde: "The only thing worse than being listened in on is *not* being listened in on"...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Take it as a compliment, Angela...

      Alex Salmon has officially complained to the N Koreans that he wasn't being spied on.

      1. Graham Marsden
        Trollface

        Re: Take it as a compliment, Angela...

        The N Koreans replied "Sorry, who are you?"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Bugging" probably just sniffing

    From what I've seen in the media, the US embassy was intercepting all cellphone communicatuion around their embassy.

    In the GSM standard the communications to the base station are encrypted, but the code was publically broken yonks ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Bugging" probably just sniffing

      If you call a simple xor encryption sure you can say it was broken yonks ago.

  6. Wize

    Did they all bug her seperatly...

    ...or did the latter operatives just patch in to the existing hack?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Did they all bug her seperatly...

      You have malware passing each other in and out of Merkel's phone, HIGH-FIVING....

    2. ian 22
      Facepalm

      Re: Did they all bug her seperatly...

      With all the hoovering up of the signal, I'm surprised she was able to use her mobe at all.

      I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. The one where leaked documents describe how the Germans bug other world leader's communications.

      Red faces all around.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Did they all bug her seperatly...

        How did they find out about the bug again? Did Germany find out from bugging the other leader's phones?

  7. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Joke

    Its Keith Alexander's fault....

    Found in gas station bathroom down the street from NSA HQ:

    "For a good time call Angela 011 etc. , etc...."

  8. Tom 13

    The real question here is

    how many of the buggers knew how many other buggers were on her phone? And did they know their IDs?

    Presumably the US and Brits knew about each other, but after that it gets murky.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: The real question here is

      "how many of the buggers knew how many other buggers were on her phone?"

      Probably none, since the signal is broadcast and easily deciphered so you wouldn't need much more than some fancy radio equipment to become one of the other buggers. As the story mentions, this is all so well known within security circles that there almost isn't a story here. To a state-sponsored spook, a mobile phone is basically an unsecured medium, like plaintext email, or postcards.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: The real question here is

      "how many of the buggers knew how many other buggers were on her phone? "

      I see what you did there... nice touch. Have one on me---->

    3. waldo kitty
      Thumb Up

      Re: The real question here is

      how many of the buggers knew how many other buggers were on her phone? And did they know their IDs?

      well played, sir... well played :)

    4. KrisMac

      Re: The real question here is

      So your saying that her phone was completely buggered then?

  9. phil dude
    Black Helicopters

    farce...

    This would all be a farce if it was not so serious....

    P.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    A firm grasp of the obvious. Then leaving it out.

    "If Russia & China are tapping Merkel's calls in Germany, they've gotta be doing the same to politicians in the US. The smartphones that members of Congress use to to call, tweet (and in some cases, sext)? They are no more secure than Merkel's"

    Gee, you think? I always wondered how come so many representatives are ready to defend Israel to the last US marine or keep shtum at appropriate moments. Carrots in unlabeled envelopes, sure. But the stick goes a long way, too.

  11. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    US, UK, China, Russia, NORKs...

    ... and you expect me to believe that the French didn't bother?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: US, UK, China, Russia, NORKs...

      They probably wanted too but had a strike...

      1. MrDamage

        Re: US, UK, China, Russia, NORKs...

        Given their recent history, its more likely they wanted to, and prepared to, but ended up not doing it, and willfully handing over all details of Sarkozy's phone calls.

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Coat

    Why the Murrican Surveillance State is like a Teenage Girl

    However Obama administration officials turned down the offer out of concerns "that letting him leave would wrongly hand Snowden a win"

    1) Never admit to wrongdoing

    2) Everything is personal

    3) DRAMA!!

    4) Persistent complaints of "not enough money to survive" after interminable shopping sprees

    ...aaaand...

    5) The ear on the phone at ANY time

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hoist by her own Merkelard ..

    This wouldn't be possible if Merkel hadn't voted in legislation that made it compulsory for manufacturers to insert back-doors into the phones encryption module.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Hoist by her own Merkelard ..

      [Citation needed], and you better not come up with "lawful interception", which we know exists - just tap the cleartext data stream at the friendly Siemens EWSD.

  14. btrower

    Good luck with that.

    Re: "a promise by the Obama administration to lay off in future"

    Well, if you've got Obama's word on it, it is as good as his word!

  15. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Holmes

    What did I say

    when this first came out

    "I bet the yanks are'nt the only ones listening in on private conversations"

    Mind you... perhaps the leaders should take it as a status symbol... that your country is rated highly enough to deserve having the leader's phone hacked and listened to by everyone else

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well Well

    Are you suggesting that Britains GCHQ wasnt in on the act?

    Ask David Cameron and the Baldy to tell her the oft repeate cliche " If you ve got nothing to hide, youv'e got nothing to worry - with what we do!

    Thanks Tony Blair and Bush., wankers.

    1. as2003

      Re: Well Well

      Meanwhile, we are getting outraged and vocal about one of our diplomatic bags getting opened in Gibraltar. Hypocritical much?

  17. MrXavia
    Big Brother

    GCHQ? Terrible! how dare they, how can they do such a heinous thing...

    How COULD they get caught like this?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The recorded announcement goes...

    The person you are trying to listen to is being spied on by somebody else at the moment: please hold the line, or try again later

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If Russia & China are tapping Merkel's calls in Germany, they've gotta be doing the same to politicians in the US."

    They won't get anything as they don't actually work. They can't pass a bill except on to the taxpayers. Then you have politicians at the state level and they are sending penis pics, doing drugs or putting their foot in their mouth.

  20. Todd Anderson

    Adobe must be happy

    Adobe MUST be real happy the press is spending so much time on Merkel…. What happened to the sender of a message taking security precautions and encrypting transmission? Why downs' t the Great Chancellor of Germany have and use an encrypted phone?

    1. btrower

      Re: Adobe must be happy

      @Todd Anderson:

      Re:"Why [doesn't] the Great Chancellor of Germany have and use an encrypted phone?"

      Maybe she does. At least some of the leaders had to know their official phones were bugged and maybe that suited them fine to use disinformation to foil adversaries. At that level lying comes so naturally they would barely notice.

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