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Apple claims no knowledge of NSA backdoors into iPhones
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MacNN Staff
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Dec 31, 2013, 12:58 PM
 
Apple has never worked to install backdoors in any of its products for the National Security Agency, and was unaware of a program specifically targeting the iPhone, the company claims in a new statement. Yesterday, German publication Der Spiegel revealed that the NSA has methods of gaining backdoor access to virtually any hardware. One program, codenamed "DROPOUTJEEP," involves planting software on an iPhone to track location, send and receive files, steal text messages, contact lists and voicemail, and even turn on the microphone and camera. Leaked documents from 2008 indicate that the NSA requires "close access," meaning physical access to an iPhone it wants to spy on.

"Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone," the statement reads. "Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers' privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements. Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple's industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who's behind them."

In the past months, several major American corporations have admitted to cooperating with the NSA on various levels. Apple, however, has generally denied involvement. The company would be forced to cover up at least some of its actions if it were cooperating, however, and confessing to doing so would hurt its public image. The fact that DROPOUTJEEP initially required physical access may support Apple's position, but the NSA documents also hint that future (possibly current) versions of its software could be remotely installable, something potentially involving a hard-coded backdoor.


( Last edited by NewsPoster; Dec 31, 2013 at 01:02 PM. )
     
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Dec 31, 2013, 01:48 PM
 
Based on this document alone, I'd say that the NSA already has an extensive communication infrastructure specific to targeting consumer smartphones... also interesting to see they actually notate the declassify date for the doucment(s). This apparently is in compliance with the FOIA?
     
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Dec 31, 2013, 01:56 PM
 
"Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone,"

We didn't *work* with them, we sort of, errrr, collaborated.

"Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products."

We thought it was called something else.

"We care deeply about our customers' privacy and security."

But we also care about keeping kosher with the feds. Can't win 'em all.

"Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements."

The backdoor method is currently a little crude; it will improve.

"Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple's industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers."

We did all we could.

"We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who's behind them."

This backdoor will help the NSA to keep you safe.
     
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Dec 31, 2013, 01:57 PM
 
Please mentally insert line breaks into the above, thx.
     
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Dec 31, 2013, 03:00 PM
 
The documents released (if you'd care to actually read them, GopherAlex) make it plain that the NSA is talking about devices they obtain physical access to, so I think their efforts on that front are a bit more targeted than you suggest. I am *no fan* of what the NSA is doing -- to call it an overreach is an understatement of global proportions -- but these latest documents (which are years old, btw) clearly talk about physically (not remotely) adding hardware or malware to aid the NSA in their aims, and refers to specific targets rather than consumers as a whole.

You don't have to believe Apple, I suppose, but think of the damage it would do the company if future NSA documents explicitly contradict them. They could have said nothing, but instead they said something, and I'm inclined to believe that they do not collaborate on this -- if for no other reason than because the NSA has already made it clear that it doesn't need the cooperation of hardware and software manufacturers when it has the cooperation of carriers, ISPs and telcos.
Charles Martin
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Dec 31, 2013, 03:26 PM
 
Two things. GopherAlex makes up responses but believes that Apple said exactly what he conjured up. Two GopherAlex has no reading comprehension. 1 + 1 = 2Clueless Apple Hating Troll.
     
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Dec 31, 2013, 04:50 PM
 
Combine this info with the public knowledge that the FBI has already been able to remotely engage any cell phone's microphone, camera, etc. for over a decade now, even when the phone is turned off. DROPOUTJEEP is *one method* of accessing iOS *that we know about.* It was already revealed months ago that NSA has had the iPhone *remotely* pwned since at least iPhone OS 3. (Android too obviously.) This is just one more tool in the toolbox. It's quite possible that part of Apple is cooperating with NSA (perhaps coercively under god knows what anti-terror law) and is legally forbidden from informing the rest of the company about it - to describe just one scenario. All those devices, and iCloud, are too juicy for the feds to ignore.
     
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Dec 31, 2013, 05:14 PM
 
So why did they hire a Naval Intelligence offer last year?
     
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Dec 31, 2013, 05:49 PM
 
Just wanted to say that I feel GopherAlex's "back door" link to an "adult" video (x-rated picture and all) is inappropriate for this forum.
     
   
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