Feeds

New leak claim: NSA saw hole in Mexican prez's email box - and hacked it

Operation Flatliquid sparks further fury down south

Security for virtualized datacentres

America's relationship with its nearest southerly neighbor are frostier than before after it was claimed that in May 2010 the NSA conducted an operation dubbed Flatliquid that hacked the contents of the then-Mexican president's inbox.

According to documents leaked to Der Spiegel, a division of the NSA dubbed Tailored Access Operations (TAO) reported successfully penetrating the public email systems of President Felipe Calderón, who stepped down from office in December 2012. The account was used for communication with other staff and was described in the once top-secret report as "a lucrative source."

NSA report on hacking Mexican president's email

'South of the border, down Mexico way'

"TAO successfully exploited a key mail server in the Mexican Presidencia domain within the Mexican Presidential network to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon's public email account," the partially redacted document states.

The alleged backdoor allowed "diplomatic, economic and leadership communications which continue to provide insight into Mexico's political system and internal stability," states the report, leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Calderón and the Mexican government have reacted angrily to the news. On his personal Twitter account, the former president said that the NSA's actions were "more than personal, are an affront to the nation's institutions, since they were carried out during my tenure as president of the republic," and called on the Mexican authorities to investigate.

The Mexican foreign ministry has already announced an investigation by the Attorney General and called the actions "unacceptable, illegal." In a statement to the BBC it said "in a relationship between neighbours and partners, there is no place for the alleged practices."

The leak is an embarrassing one for the US, since it is already investigating itself for allegedly hacking the email of current Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto last summer during his election campaign. Documents slipped to local news television station Fantastico in September showed the NSA had copies of Peña Nieto's email conversations, including discussions about likely ministerial appointments.

The same reports suggested that the NSA had also comprehensively pwned the email accounts of the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and some of her aides, as well as those of the state oil company Petrobas.

President Rousseff cancelled a visit to the US in protest and at the recent G20 meetings in Russia, President Obama promised that both hacking reports would be investigated.

"What I got from President Obama was a commitment to a full investigation... and if they turn out to be true to impose corresponding sanctions," said President Peña Nieto at the time. El Reg wonders how this latest report will factor into negotiations. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.