The CIA has targeted Apple for invading the privacy of users, according to documents leaked from Edward Snowden. A CIA sponsored gathering every single year consisting of security experts has sought to find out security loopholes and backdoors to benefit from.
Apple has announced the overall sales of iPhones that exceeded 700 million units, heading straight to the barrier of a whole billion. This makes the iPhone one of the most popular mobile devices ever found on the global market. So, the news of the CIA secretly attempting (and to some extent with great success) to hack iPhones, as well as iPads and Mac computers, does not come as a shock. Instead, a product that has become so popular and that is selected by a great share of the pie in terms of sales universally makes total sense to be on the spotlight.
Edward Snowden saves the day in this case, since he had sent some documents over to the Intercept where the Jamboree is brought to light; this is an annual gathering of security experts who seek to expand their knowledge and express their opinions on the exploitation of security flaws that appear to electronics of all sorts. Of course, the Jamboree aims to take advantage of the vulnerabilities that might come up during the use of electronic devices (for instance, the iPhone), towards invading the privacy of their users. The Jamboree is sponsored by the CIA and the first gathering was held just one year prior to the release of the first iPhone in 2007.
Among the strategies discussed in these gatherings, we find the use of security keys that are meant to encrypt the data in Apple devices. The research has enabled both physical and non invasive techniques for obtaining the desired results, which have to do with the eventual hacking of these products. What they have created is an altered version of XCode, which is the proprietary software for Apple. In this way, they have managed to find a backdoor to monitor the users of Apple products without anyone ever noticing.
With the use of modified XCode, the developers (or to be more specific, the spies) can get their hands on passwords and other sensitive data and this leads to the loss of privacy altogether. All these revelations about the surveillance and hacking attempts initiated by the CIA are food for thought, in the light of both the US and UK trying to force companies like Apple to comply with their regulations. There is the growing need for Apple and other leading companies in the field to become less secured and more penetrable by the Governmental agencies who may request that.
If you recall, Tim Cook (who is the CEO of Apple) has been really passionate about maintaining privacy and this is what he has continuously highlighted about Apple’s products:
“Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. Our commitment to protecting your privacy comes from a deep respect for our customers. We know that your trust doesn’t come easy. That’s why we have and always will work as hard as we can to earn and keep it.”
Although the revelations are alarming, they do not state whether or not the attempts of the CIA have been successful and to what extent. Still, they pose a threat to the privacy that we are all entitled to, both Apple users and everyone else. At the same time, Tim Cook cuts down on the price for Apple TV and promotes the newest products that Apple will be releasing soon.
Top/Featured Image: Via Wikimedia Commons, Licensed under Public Domain