In yet another blow to American tech companies and the NSA’s spying programs, additional revelations have come out of the 22nd annual CC Conference in Berlin Germany. Security researcher and analyst Jacob Applbaum gave a talk about the NSA spying on people through Apple’s iOS on the iPhone. He talked about a series of hacks that target people differently, but he wanted to talk about the fact that most people have no idea how at risk they really are. And even more importantly, the control of people through their computers.
This eventually resulted in him disclosing the fact that Apple’s iPhone via Der Spiegel and has effectively rendered Apple’s most successful product ever insecure. The TAO effectively claims that every single Apple iPhone is vulnerable to their own software implant that effectively renders the iPhone a massive surveillance device. This program is called Dropout Jeep which gives them the access that they want. If the NSA wants to, they can easily pull or push files from the device, retrieve text/SMS messages, contact list retrieval, voicemail, GPS location, microphone, camera capture, cell tower location. What this means is that the NSA can remotely turn on your microphone and record a conversation even if it was never turned on. It can also do the same with the iPhone camera, meaning that every phone is effectively a monitoring device. Something that every paranoid person has claimed about cellphones for years, and actually has been right. The problem, however, is that this is all done securely and anonymously so the people targeted have no idea.
They also claim the ability to always inject these commands and obtain the information with 100% success all the time, every time. Which means that this hole is fairly well known and exploitable by the NSA and begins to bring additional questions. First, to what extent is Apple aware of the issue and how involved were they in the NSA’s hacking of the iPhone and how exactly is the NSA doing it? In addition to that, how vulnerable is Android or Windows Phone? It seems that no operating system or mobile platform is safe from the NSA’s hacking ability and monitoring which is absolutely insane. Once again, this puts the American tech companies and basically every person using the iPhone vulnerable to hacking and or spying.