The NSA allegedly has a back door into iOS that allows the agency to intercept text messages, address book entires and more, says a report on The Daily Dot. This snooping uses encryption to hide the data that is being sent back to the NSA and is done covertly to avoid detection. The NSA spyware was unveiled by security researcher Jacob Appelbaum, who was speaking at the Chaos Communication Conference in Hamburg, Germany. According to Applebaum, the NSA developed a program called DROPOUTJEEP as implant on a user’s phone. The app is manually installed on a device via a shipment rerouting program that allows the NSA to grab select packages and pass them through their facilities before they land in the hands of the consumer. These details are contained in a 2008 NSA document leaked by Appelbaum.
The DROPOUTJEEP app can push/pull files from a device, download SMS messages, get location data, turn on the mic/camera and more. The system allegedly has a “100 percent success rate when it comes to implanting iOS devices with spyware.”
Whether Apple has provided the NSA with a backdoor into iOS is not known. Applebaum hints that either Apple sabotaged iOS or that the NSA knows about exploits that work against Apple products.
“Either [the NSA] have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products, meaning they are hoarding information about critical systems that American companies produce, and sabotaging them, or Apple sabotaged it themselves.”
“Do you think Apple helped them with that?” Appelbaum asked. “I hope Apple will clarify that.”
In the past, Apple has vehemently denied working with the NSA to spy on its customers. The company, along with seven other technology customers, has sent an open letter to the President and Congress asking Washington to change its government surveillance practices worldwide. You can watch Applebaum’s presentation below and sound off in the comments about this latest NSA program.