The US hacked into computers at Chinese mobile phone companies and a major Beijing university, the South China Morning Post reported late Saturday, in the latest revelations from United States whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The paper reported that Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong in May but whose exact whereabouts are unknown, had provided it with further evidence about the extent of snooping by the US’ National Security Agency (NSA) in an interview earlier in June.
“The NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cell phone companies to steal all of your SMS data,” the paper quoted Snowden as saying.
The paper also reported that the US had targeted Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of the country’s top research institutions. Evidence provided by Snowden showed the latest breach was in January this year, the paper said.
The university hosts one of the major backbone networks for China’s internet, and could enable access to internet data from millions of Chinese citizens, the paper said.
Snowden also told the newspaper that the NSA had hacked into computers at the Hong Kong headquarters of Pacnet, which owns one of the region’s largest fibre optic submarine cable networks. The hacking, which allegedly took place in 2009, had since stopped, he said.
The US has filed criminal charges of espionage and theft of government property against Snowden, for his revelations about secret US communications surveillance programmes.