Tim Cook’s mission to double down on secrecy at Apple is producing results that even Steve Jobs would be envious of, based on a new report that details the extreme lengths Apple has gone through to stop leaks.
Ironically, a recording of Apple’s security team discussing leaks has been leaked online, giving all-new details on how Apple prevents employees and factory workers from leaking information and parts to the public.
A recording of an hour-long presentation by Apple’s Global Security team titled “Stopping Leakers – Keeping Confidential at Apple,” was obtained by The Outline. During the presentation, Apple’s Director of Global Security, David Rice, warns employees of how seriously Apple is about leaks . The company is so hardcore about maintaining secrecy that one investigation into a leak lasted three years before the culprit was caught.
Rice revealed that Apple employs an undisclosed number of investigators across the globe to keep information from getting out. Some of the investigators have years of experience working for the branches of the federal government such as the NSA, FBI, U.S. Secret service and U.S. military.
Squashing iPhone Leaks
While Apple’s supply chain in Asia has provided a cavalcade of leaks over the last 10 years, Rice says that last year Apple’s campus leaked more information than the supply chain for the first time ever. By ramping up security at assembly plants in Asia, Apple has reached unprecedented levels of secrecy.
“In 2014 we had 387 [iPhone] enclosures stolen,” Rice said. “In 2015 we had 57 enclosures stolen, 50 of which were stolen on the night of announce, which was so painful.” In 2016, Rice says the company produced 65 million housings, and only four were stolen. “So it’s about a one in 16 million loss ratio, which is unheard of in the industry.”
Rice recalls before the iPhone 5c was announced in 2013 Apple’s security team had to buy back about 19,000 enclosures off the black market before the announcement. Another 11,000 enclosures had to be purchased before phones shipped in order to keep the information off of blogs.
“I have faith deep in my soul that if we hire smart people they’re gonna think about this, they’re gonna understand this, and ultimately they’re gonna do the right thing, and that’s to keep their mouth shut,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s VP of iPhone marketing.
The report also details other interesting tidbits about Apple’s security efforts, such as secretly planting security members on product teams to ensure employees stay quiet and the fact that Apple does more security screens in one day than the TSA. Make sure to read the full report at The Outline.