The iPhone has reportedly been fully hacked by the NSA since 2008
As 2013 edges to a close, reports of the NSA’s widespread surveillance capabilities have reached new heights of absurdity.
A report from Der Spiegel on Sunday highlighted the NSA’s elite hacking unit, which directly targets corporate networks and can even place spyware on devices while they’re being shipped to recipients. Yesterday, security researcher Jacob Applebaum and Der Spiegel blew the lid off another NSA program, dubbed “DROPOUTJEEP,” which gives the agency fully control of Apple’s iPhone.
Once the NSA’s malware is on an iPhone, the agency can access just about any data on the device, including text messages, contact lists, geolocation history, and voicemail, according to leaked a leaked NSA document (below). It can also remotely enable the iPhone’s camera and microphone.
Applebaum discussed the NSA’s iPhone surveillance efforts during a recent talk at the Chaos Communications Congress, an annual hacker get-together. You can view the second part of his talk below, with the iPhone discussion beginning at 44:30.
Given the extent of the NSA’s surveillance machine so far, it’s not surprising that it has its hooks into the iPhone. What is surprising is the agency’s purported 100-percent success rate on installing malware on the iPhone. It’s also worrying that Applebaum is highlighting a leaked NSA document from 2008, only a year after the iPhone was released. At that point, the NSA didn’t have a way to remotely install its malware on iPhones — who knows what the agency’s full capabilities are today.
“Do you think Apple helped them build that?” Appelbaum said during his talk. “I don’t know. I hope Apple will clarify that…”
News of DROPOUTJEEP comes on top of prior reports that the NSA can easily hack into Android phones and BlackBerry devices and servers. But it sounds like, for whatever reason, the NSA may have even more complete access into the iPhone.