[telecom] Apple Says It Is 'Unaware' of N.S.A. iPhone Hack Program

Apple Says It Is 'Unaware' of N.S.A. iPhone Hack Program


Apple said Tuesday that it was unaware of the National Security Agency's efforts to hack into the iPhone and has never facilitated agency efforts to install backdoors into its products.

The Cupertino, Calif., company released a strongly worded statement in response to a recent article in the German magazine Der Spiegel, which reported that N.S.A. analysts refer internally to iPhone users as "zombies" who "pay for their own surveillance."

"Apple has never worked with the N.S.A. to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone," an Apple spokeswoman said in an email.

Der Spiegel released a number of slides detailing the agency's hacking division - known internally as the Tailored Access Operations, or T.A.O. division. One slide, describing an N.S.A. software implant called DROPOUTJEEP, stood out.

The agency described DROPOUTJEEP as a "software implant for Apple iPhone" that has all kinds of handy spy capabilities. DROPOUTJEEP can pull or push information onto the iPhone, snag SMS text messages, contact lists, voicemail and a person's geolocation, both from the phone itself and from cell towers in close proximity.

It can also turn the iPhone into a "hot mic" using the phone's own microphone as a recording device and capture images via the iPhone's camera. (Reminder to readers: Masking tape is not a bad idea).


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