Apple Says It’s Unaware Of NSA’s Backdoor Into The iPhone

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Apple denies working with the National Security Agency to create a backdoor into the iPhone and other products that would give the spy agency access to users’ data.

The denial is a response to leaked NSA documents published yesterday from 2008 that detail a backdoor into the iPhone called “DROPOUTJEEP.” The spyware is able to intercept data like the iPhone’s SMS messages, contacts, location, and more after being installed.

Here’s the full statement from Apple, provided by AllThingsD:

Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers’ privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements. Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.

Information about DROPOUTJEEP was shared yesterday by Edward Snowden-confidant Jacob Appelbaum and German publication Der Spiegel. While Appelbaum said he didn’t know if Apple had cooperated with the NSA to create the backdoor, he found it likely. “Either they have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products, meaning that they are hoarding information about critical systems that American companies produce and sabotaging them, or Apple sabotaged it themselves. ”

Apple’s strongly worded statement (“malicious hackers,” etc.) indicates its attitude towards the NSA and government spying tactics. After PRISM was uncovered, Apple joined a group of other tech companies to push for greater transparency from the NSA. Apple has also published a list of the government requests for customer data it has received domestically and abroad.

  • CharlieBing

    Wow, that headline – “Apple Says It’s Unaware Of NSA’s Backdoor Into The iPhone” – really is a total distortion of what Apple said, and of the facts. You want your readers to infer that the NSA has a “backdoor into the iPhone” when there’s zero evidence of that; and what Apple actually said was it was unaware of an NSA program targetting Apple products.

    Note to self: 2014 New Year’s Resolution: stop giving eyeballs to skewed Apple headlines.

    Grumble, grumble.

  • LFJ

    What’s worse, that Apple didn’t work with NSA to allow backdoor or that it is so easy to create backdoor that they will succed every time?

  • lwdesign1

    I am sure that the NSA has a backdoor into Apple devices (or at least a way to access any outgoing calls, texts and emails) — and has access every other type of cell phone, tablet, laptop and desktop no matter what their make or manufacture. The NSA’s whole purpose is to be vigilant for any military or terrorist threat to the U.S., and what better way to do this than monitoring everyone’s phone calls, emails, video chats and texts for key “danger words” which can then be investigated more fully. I don’t like it, but that’s what they’re doing. I’m not particularly worried about my personal privacy because I’m not planning world domination, bank heists or other criminal activity, but it does creep me out.
    Every major country has its own type of behind-the-scenes spy network/security organization similar to the NSA. This is nothing new, and neither should anything revealed by Edward Snowden be surprising to anyone who is paying attention.
    The basic problem with spy agencies is that they are secret organizations, and there is little or no governance on what they do with the data they’ve snooped. This means that it can be abused by less than ethical people, and this is what can get us into trouble.

  • Robert X

    What’s worse, that Apple didn’t work with NSA to allow backdoor or that it is so easy to create backdoor that they will succed every time?

    You do realize the document is from 2007?

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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