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  • Leaked Documents Reveal the NSA has Worked on iPhone Spyware to Monitor Its Users


    Recently revealed documents show the US National Security Agency has the capability of deploying software implants on Apple’s iPhone that grants remote access to on-board assets like SMS messages, location data and microphone audio. Security researcher Jacob Applebaum summarized the NSA’s iPhone-targeting spyware program called “DROPOUTJEEP” as part of a broader discussion dealing with the agency’s controversial electronic surveillance initiative.

    Regarding Apple’s iPhone, the findings, concurrently published by German magazine Der Spiegel, are limited to a single top secret document dating back to 2008. The page details DROPOUTJEEP’s basic operational structure and capabilities, which include the interception of SMS messages, access to on-board data, microphone activation, and approximate positioning via cell tower location. All communication takes place covertly over SMS or GPRS data protocols.

    Proliferation within the iPhone community is largely unknown while being a startling revolution. Furthermore, the NSA boasts a 100% success rate for implanting the spyware on iOS devices but the document suggests physical contact with a target phone is required to implant the software. In practice, the method is likely similar to a consumer jailbreak looking for root device access according to him. To this point, Applebaum alludes to complicit involvement by Apple but states that he “can’t really prove it.” He had the following to say regarding the matter:

    I don't really believe that Apple didn't help them," Appelbaum said. "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.
    According to Der Spiegel, specialized NSA Tailored Access Operations (TAO) teams intercept incoming device shipments, carefully open packages and install spyware before sending the bugged units along to end users. A more efficient delivery mechanism is remote installation, which is something the NSA said was being “pursued for future release.” Once again, it’s unknown if the agency moved forward with such a system in the intervening five years since the document was first issued.

    Those of you interested in hearing Applebaum’s talk regarding the iPhone discussion should watch the video below:



    Source: Daily Dot, Der Spiegel
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Leaked Documents Reveal the NSA has Worked on iPhone Spyware to Monitor Its Users started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 27 Comments
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Wow.
    1. PokemonDesigner's Avatar
      PokemonDesigner -
      F*** the NSA. They are pigs who have overstepped their lines numerous times before and continue to do so. The NSA need to be **** down until someone actually fixes the BS that they have created.
    1. kosher1's Avatar
      kosher1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by PokemonDesigner View Post
      F*** the NSA. They are pigs who have overstepped their lines numerous times before and continue to do so. The NSA need to be **** down until someone actually fixes the BS that they have created.
      Don't worry. Don't worry. It only installs on JB devices.

      :-)
    1. jose060789's Avatar
      jose060789 -
      Is there a jailbreak tweak to block them completely?
    1. King_O_Hill's Avatar
      King_O_Hill -
      Quote Originally Posted by PokemonDesigner View Post
      F*** the NSA. They are pigs who have overstepped their lines numerous times before and continue to do so. The NSA need to be **** down until someone actually fixes the BS that they have created.
      Yes, but they do this legally now because of the renewal of the patriot act, that clearly violates the constitution.
    1. nesamone's Avatar
      nesamone -
      Quote Originally Posted by PokemonDesigner View Post
      F*** the NSA. They are pigs who have overstepped their lines numerous times before and continue to do so. The NSA need to be **** down until someone actually fixes the BS that they have created.
      do you have any idea why they been doing this? maybe to prevent something like 9/11? So think again before talking.
    1. WithinTemptationFan's Avatar
      WithinTemptationFan -
      If people truly think they have privacy in this country, then they're being really ignorant. No one has any privacy anymore after the 9/11 incident.
    1. Faresismail's Avatar
      Faresismail -
      Is that only in the states or they do that everywhere?
    1. Breezy215's Avatar
      Breezy215 -
      Quote Originally Posted by WithinTemptationFan View Post
      If people truly think they have privacy in this country, then they're being really ignorant. No one has any privacy anymore after the 9/11 incident.
      Exactly... Which in the end, is a catch 22
    1. se23's Avatar
      se23 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jose060789 View Post
      Is there a jailbreak tweak to block them completely?
      I'd like to know this too.
    1. hogcia's Avatar
      hogcia -
      Quote Originally Posted by nesamone View Post
      do you have any idea why they been doing this? maybe to prevent something like 9/11? So think again before talking.
      I am so ******* tired of people using 9/11 as an excuse to give up privacy. Wake the **** up and stop being so stupid and ignorant. The government simply wants to control the population more and more. It's an invasion of privacy! Stop bending over for the government!
    1. xWalmartCandyx's Avatar
      xWalmartCandyx -
      Quote Originally Posted by se23 View Post
      I'd like to know this too.
      Well there is a tweak called "untrackerd"(yes, that's how it's spelled) which adds a daemon to delete a hidden file that keeps track of your location and sends it to apple. But i dont think there is a tweak for this kind of thing
    1. luvmytj's Avatar
      luvmytj -
      Quote Originally Posted by nesamone View Post
      do you have any idea why they been doing this? maybe to prevent something like 9/11? So think again before talking.
      Think this will make you safer? Think again. I don't know about you but I don't feel the government needs to know everything about everybody. Are there some people the government should keep tabs on? Sure, but let them demonstrate a need to gain access to the info, not just tap everyone all the time.
      F'it. Lets all go get tracking/recording chips installed in our forearms and be done with it.
    1. BrainSmashR's Avatar
      BrainSmashR -
      It just amazes me how many people get their panties in a bunch over this. Records of triangulation date back to the 6th Century BC, considerably older than the cell phone itself. What that means for you is that if your phone is on and you are within the reach of 2 cell towers, they can find you (if you took Geometry or Trig you should know this already). In other words, you NEVER had privacy on your cell phone, and pardon my French, but you're an idiot if you think you ever did.
    1. Blue's Avatar
      Blue -
      Quote Originally Posted by nesamone View Post
      do you have any idea why they been doing this? maybe to prevent something like 9/11? So think again before talking.
      It's a thin line between a paranoid out of control democracy and a dictatorship. 9/11 NOT EXCUSES EVERYTHING FOREVER.

      This is what the USA are currently doing: spying the whole planet, torturing, kidnapping, illegal jails, killing without a trial, secrets courts...

      How would you call this ??? A democracy ?

      This is not a statement against the USA, it's a statement to rethink a lot and take a look at your constitution ....
    1. se23's Avatar
      se23 -
      Thank God there's still lots of people with sense

      Quote Originally Posted by BrainSmashR View Post
      It just amazes me how many people get their panties in a bunch over this. Records of triangulation date back to the 6th Century BC, considerably older than the cell phone itself. What that means for you is that if your phone is on and you are within the reach of 2 cell towers, they can find you (if you took Geometry or Trig you should know this already). In other words, you NEVER had privacy on your cell phone, and pardon my French, but you're an idiot if you think you ever did.
      The difference is that Fred flintstone didn't have his WHOLE life on his horn phone :/
    1. crouching's Avatar
      crouching -
      NSA, the ultimate jailbreaking team since 2008! ha
    1. se23's Avatar
      se23 -
      NSA analysts refer internally to iPhone users as “zombies” who “pay for their own surveillance.”
    1. towboattrash34's Avatar
      towboattrash34 -
      Here is the rest of the story.

      NSA reportedly intercepting laptops purchased online to install spy malware.

      WTF is next ???

      http://mobile.thever...p-usb-plant-spy

      According to a new report from Der Spiegel based on internal NSA documents, the signals intelligence agency's elite hacking unit (TAO) is able to conduct sophisticated wiretaps in ways that make Hollywood fantasy look more like reality. The report indicates that the NSA, in collaboration with the CIA and FBI, routinely and secretly intercepts shipping deliveries for laptops or other computer accessories in order to implant bugs before they reach their destinations. According to Der Spiegel, the NSA's TAO group is able to divert shipping deliveries to its own "secret workshops" in a method called interdiction, where agents load malware onto the electronics or install malicious hardware that can give US intelligence agencies remote access.

      While the report does not indicate the scope of the program, or who the NSA is targeting with such wiretaps, it's a unique look at the agency's collaborative efforts with the broader intelligence community to gain hard access to communications equipment. One of the products the NSA appears to use to compromise target electronics is codenamed COTTONMOUTH, and has been available since 2009; it's a USB "hardware implant" that secretly provides the NSA with remote access to the compromised machine.

      This tool, among others, is available to NSA agents through what Der Spiegel describes as a mail-order spy catalog. The report indicates that the catalog offers backdoors into the hardware and software of the most prominent technology makers, including Cisco, Juniper Networks, Dell, Seagate, Western Digital, Maxtor, Samsung, and Huawei. Many of the targets are American companies. The report indicates that the NSA can even exploit error reports from Microsoft's Windows operating system; by intercepting the error reports and determining what's wrong with a target's computer, the NSA can then attack it with Trojans or other malware.

      In response to Der Spiegel's report, Cisco senior vice president John Stewart wrote that "we are deeply concerned with anything that may impact the integrity of our products or our customers' networks," and that the company does "not work with any government to weaken our products for exploitation." Other US companies have fired back against reports of NSA tampering in recent months, including Microsoft, which labeled the agency an "advanced persistent threat" over its efforts to secretly collect private user data within the internal networks of Google and Yahoo.

      SOMETIMES THE NSA HOPS ON AN FBI JET FOR HIGH-TECH RAIDS

      The Der Spiegel report, which gives a broad look at TAO operations, also highlights the NSA's cooperation with other intelligence agencies to conduct Hollywood-style raids. Unlike most of the NSA's operations which allow for remote access to targets, Der Spiegel notes that the TAO's programs often require physical access to targets. To gain physical access, the NSA reportedly works with the CIA and FBI on sensitive missions that sometimes include flying NSA agents on FBI jets to plant wiretaps. "This gets them to their destination at the right time and can help them to disappear again undetected after even as little as a half hour's work," the report notes.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      The NSA pay a lot of money for Zero days - why is anyone surprised?