It sounds as if The National Security Agency (NSA) has been able to hack the iPhone for the last 5 years, since 2008 in fact. According to a Der Spiegel interactive report that looks at the agency’s numerous tools used for intelligence work.
One exceptionally interesting tool, codenamed “DROPOUTJEEP,” is an implant that was first used to compromise Apple’s first-generation iPhone. It was able to send various data stored on the phone to the agency, including text messages, address book contacts, geo-location and voicemail. Furthermore, the software could activate the microphone of the iPhone, turn on the camera and take pictures and retrieve cell tower location.
All NSA-iPhone communications would be “covert and encrypted,” this means that the target would likely be oblivious to what is going on. According to the document obtained by Der Spiegel, “command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection.” Additionally, the initial DROPOUTJEEP would “focus on installing the implant via close access methods” with remote installations to be “pursued for a future release.” The documents presented by the publication do not specify whether any following iPhone models were similarly hacked by the agency, though.
However, the leaked materials show that the NSA had various other mobile-related spying “products” that worked with other smart devices: GOPHERSET – an implant for GSM SIM cards to pull phone book, SMS and log files for incoming and outgoing calls. MONKEYCALENDAR – attack software that forces a SIM card to transmit geolocation data via covert SMS messages. TOTECHASER – an implant hidden in a satellite phone running Windows CE that transmits data via hidden SMS messages. TOTEGHOSTLY – an implant that enables full remote control on Windows Mobile phones offering data download and upload capabilities. PICASSO – modified GSM handsets that collect user data, audio data while also tracking the location of the handset.
These programs are only a few of the NSA’s smart spying techniques that can be used to spy on targets. Der Spiegel mentioned a 50-page catalogue of such digital tools developed by the NSA and has revealed that the NSA can intercept laptops and other products mid-shipping to install spy malware on them. Moreover, the NSA can reportedly hack a wireless network from eight miles away. Digital activist and security researcher Jacob Appelbaum claimed he had seen documents indicating the US National Security Agency (NSA) could hack into Wi-Fi connections from 8 miles away. That was way back in 2007.
In Der Spiegel, Appelbaum had disclosed information on the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations unit. The NSA has use drones to carry out such long-range attacks, he said, but he could not produce any evidence to substantiate that claim. “It tells us that they understand that common wireless cards are probably running Microsoft Windows, which is an American company, that they know about vulnerabilities and they keep them a secret to use them…This is part of a constant theme of sabotaging and undermining American companies and American ingenuity.” Appelbaum said.
[Image via rt]