The NSA and the GCHQ, its British counterpart, have been spying on the OPEC oil cartel, documents reveal.
According to a report coming from Der Spiegel, the spy agencies were particularly interested in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, making the infiltration into the computer network one of the main priorities.
The German magazine reports that the NSA managed to hack into OPEC in January 2008. Although data about various countries member of OPEC had previously been available, this was the first time they actually gained access to the entire network.
Data coming from the operation helped warn the United States that OPEC was actually preparing itself for an antitrust suit against the US. Furthermore, it also revealed how member countries were trying to keep the oil prices up, for more profit, while hiding the increase in oil production.
The GCHQ, for its part, managed to infiltrate the Vienna-based OPEC by using the Quantum Insert method, basically creating a gateway into OPEC’s computer system, acquiring even administrator privileges.
Current OPEC members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
Previously, it was revealed that the NSA had a big interest in oil companies as it spied on Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company. The US denied at the time that it was engaging in economic espionage, but that didn't stop Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to accuse it of exactly that.