A leaked document brought to light at the Chaos Communications Congress in Germany has revealed that the NSA developed a spyware application for iPhone which allowed it to track and monitor iPhone users.
The spyware program, nicknamed “DROPOUTJEEP”, is referenced to in a single leaked document dated to 2008. The spyware was capable of intercepting SMS messages, reading on-board data, locating a users position through cell towers, and even microphone activation.
Whilst the leak is an absolutely shocking, and rather frightening development in the NSA privacy saga, the prominence of the spyware is still totally unknown. The NSA claims that it has a 100% success rate of planting the spyware on devices, yet according to the document physical contact with the iPhone is required, you can rest assured then that unless you’ve been in direct contact with an NSA operator in the last 5 years, the spyware is not active on your phone.
The second issue at hand is the culpability of Apple in the development of this spyware. Jacob Appelbaum, the researcher who brought the leak to light at the conference, wishfully stated that he didn’t “really believe that Apple didn’t help them”, but that he couldn’t prove that.
I don’t really believe that Apple didn’t help them…I can’t really prove it yet, but [the NSA] literally claim that anytime they target an iOS device, that it will succeed for implantation. Either they have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products, meaning that they are hoarding information about critical systems that American companies produce and sabotaging them, or Apple sabotaged it themselves. Not sure which one it is. I’d like to believe that since Apple didn’t join the PRISM program until after Steve Jobs died, that maybe it’s just that they write [expletive redacted] software. We know that’s true.
Der Spiegel has claimed that the NSA has teams that intercept iPhone device shipments, carefully implanting spyware in devices before they reach their destination, which sounds a little too underhand for my liking…. According to the document remote installation was to be “pursued for future release”, however it’s again unclear whether or not that capability was achieved.
This is perhaps the most disturbing revelation to have emerged from within the NSA ever since the leaks of Edward Snowden alerted the world to the workings of PRISM and the NSA’s massive surveillance program.
Via: Apple Insider