How the U.S. NSA remotely bugs your Apple iPhone

“Following up on the latest stunning revelations released yesterday by German Spiegel which exposed the spy agency’s 50 page catalog of “backdoor penetration techniques”, today during a speech given by Jacob Applebaum (@ioerror) at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, a new bombshell emerged: specifically the complete and detailed description of how the NSA bugs, remotely, your iPhone,” Tyler Durden reports for Zero Hedge.

Durden reports, “The way the NSA accomplishes this is using software known as Dropout Jeep, which it describes as follows: ‘DROPOUT JEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted.'”

Durden reports, “What is perhaps just as disturbing is the following rhetorical sequence from Applebaum: ‘Do you think Apple helped them build that? I don’t know. I hope Apple will clarify that. Here’s the problem: I don’t really believe that Apple didn’t help them, I can’t really prove it but [the NSA] literally claim that anytime they target an iOS device that it will succeed for implantation. 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. Not sure which one it is. I’d like to believe that since Apple didn’t join the PRISM program until after Steve Jobs died, that maybe it’s just that they write shitty software. We know that’s true.’ Or, Apple’s software is hardly ‘shitty’ even if it seems like that to the vast majority of experts (kinda like the Fed’s various programs), and in fact it achieves precisely what it is meant to achieve.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Shit meet fan. Fan, shit.

No wonder Apple et al. are scared to death about potential losses of business over this Orwellian nightmare and are now calling for government surveillance reform. Sans Snowden, ’tis doubtful, sadly, that we’d have heard a peep from any of these companies, including Apple.

American citizens: If you do not stand up for your rights now, you never will.

United States Constitution, Amendment IV:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Visit the Apple-backed today.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “TGunServo” and “Mj miller” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Report: U.S. NSA intercepts computers during shipping to install surveillance malware – December 30, 2013
U.S. NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking – December 11, 2013
Apple, Google, others call for government surveillance reform – December 9, 2013
U.S. NSA secretly infiltrated Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – October 30, 2013
Obama administration decides NSA spying is ‘essential,’ but oversight of NSA is not – October 8, 2013
Apple’s iPhone 5s with Touch ID seen as protection against U.S. NSA – September 16, 2013
German government: Windows 8 contains U.S. NSA snooping back doors; too dangerous to use – August 23, 2013
Report: NSA can see 75% of U.S. Web traffic, can snare emails – August 21, 2013
NSA can read email, online chats, track Web browsing without warrant, documents leaked by Edward Snowden show – July 31, 2013
Momentum builds against U.S. government surveillance – July 29, 2013
U.S. House rejects effort to curb NSA surveillance powers, 205-217 – July 24, 2013
Obama administration scrambles to shut down imminent U.S. House vote to defund NSA spying – July 24, 2013
Obama administration demands master encryption keys from firms in order to conduct electronic surveillance against Internet users – July 24, 2013
Apple, Google, dozens of others push Obama administration to disclose U.S. surveillance requests – July 19, 2013
Secret court agrees to allow Yahoo to reveal its fight against U.S. government PRISM requests – July 16, 2013
How Microsoft handed U.S. NSA, FBI, CIA access to users’ encrypted video, audio, and text communications – July 11, 2013
DuckDuckGo search engine surges 33% in wake of PRISM scandal – June 20, 2013
Yahoo: Since December 2012, we have received up to 13,000 U.S. gov’t requests for customer data – June 18, 2013
Apple: Since December 2012, we have received U.S. gov’t requests for customer data for up to 10,000 accounts – June 17, 2013
Nine companies, including Apple, tied to PRISM, Obama to be smacked with class-action lawsuit – June 12, 2013
U.S. lawmakers urge review of ‘Prism’ domestic spying, Patriot Act – June 10, 2013
PRISM: Do Apple, Google, Facebook have an ethical obligation not to spy on users? – June 8, 2013
Plausible deniability: The strange and unbelievable similarities in the Apple, Google, and Facebook PRISM denials – June 7, 2013
Google’s Larry Page on government eavesdropping: ‘We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday’ – June 7, 2013
Seecrypt app lets iPhone, Android users keep voice calls, text messages away from carriers, government eyes and ears – June 7, 2013
Obama administration defends PRISM data-collection as legal anti-terrorism tool – June 7, 2013
Facebook, Google, Yahoo join Apple in sort-of denying PRISM involvement – June 7, 2013
Report: Intelligence program gives U.S. government direct access to customer data on Apple servers; Apple denies – June 6, 2013


      1. i have been to russia… til today… some still fear the KGB. The stories themselves make the NSA seem look like pre-schoolers.

        In any case… stay away from doing anything illegal… dont take any pictures you do not want public on a device that has connectivity to the net.

        1. Don’t buy iPhones, iwatches, apple computers or any tech if it bothers you that the NSA uses it to watch you every moment, and if it bothers you that the PuppetMasters like Google and other companies access your ideas for their own profit and at your loss.

    1. You have to be a special kind of idiot to think NBC news is leftist. Or any of the corporate media for that matter. I guess its nice to live in that set of fantasy make believe world. Easier anyway than reality.

  1. Well, I don’t believe Apple write ‘shitty software’, after all, various ‘black hat’ groups seem to find exploits that can only be executed by physical contact with the phone.
    However, with the billions of dollars, and massive computing power available, I’m quite prepared to believe that the NSA can hack anything they want to. This article sounds like massive FUD to me.
    Where’s the same talk about Android? An American designed and produced OS that’s in use all over the world, and which everyone knows has more holes than a Swiss cheese. Who would notice anything that the NSA shoved into it?

  2. Many people in The Netherlands (where I am from) and other countries just shrug their shoulders because they ‘don’t have anything to hide’ and ‘it’s for our safety’. In the mean time we lose all the rights and liberties we fought for hundreds of years. The fear for terrorism brings us more harm than terrorism itself and all we do is surrender.

      1. North Korea warns its people that at any moment outside invaders will attack, so for the duration, for their safety, they all have to do their part and sacrifice for the common good. That’s why they have foul poverty, no human rights, and are hyped for war. It’s a common practice for police states to use fear for absolute control over a populace, but it makes for a societal Dark Age. The Founding Fathers of the US had a decent solution with the US constitution. This government has destroyed the fourth amendment and, if allowed, will destroy the rest of the Bill of Rights. I now vote against all sitting politicians because corruption today in government is total.

    1. Its barely a Blackberry since it is special hardware and software device that took years to develop and there only a handful of them.
      Anyone who knows anything about security knows security through obscurity is a foolish idea.

  3. So if they have been doing this for years there must be someone here who has been hurt. I would like to see some examples of how this has been affecting folks. After all they have been doing this since the patriot act began. So tell us your stories of how you have been arrested or any other negative operation. Surely there are stories.

    1. That’s not how oppression works Coppertop! The way it works is that all your data is stored until “needed”. Now lets say you want to do something to change the world…well if Obama doesn’t like that change, he can just whip out the data on your ass and beat you with it till you quit. Or, if its something really big you plan to do against the establishment, he might even use the data to “accidentally” control your car straight into a lamppost like Michael Hastings. Or, how about something less deadly but just as effective; say you want to get employed at some key position, or you simply want to fly somewhere……well you might find yourself shutout of the job or on a nobly list for reasons you never even knew about.

      Yeah, not really going to effect you…..until one day, it does.

      1. You sound remarkably paranoid. Just because you can imagine some event happening, doesn’t mean that it will.

        What’s also curious is that you appear nervous about the most unlikely part of all, which is Obama being pissed off at some person, and suddenly their credit is destroyed or some such thing.

        While our government misusing its power isn’t unusual, such as COINTELPRO there is no evidence that Obama is somehow directly behind what the NSA is doing–and that they have in fact probably been doing it for more years than we know–so why you’re personalizing this, when all indications are that this program existed long before Obama (and probably Bush) came into office is a bit curious.

        1. Yeah, I bet you’ve never heard of Jason Schwartz. Do a Google search and check out some of what overbearing prosecutor mis-conduct looks like and just how far Government agents will go. Bet you won’t think it’s so paranoid then!!

          You can thank me later.

    2. There are many people affected by the un-patriot act. My employer, a law enforcement agency, placed me on a threat assessment list in retaliation for performing my duties as an auditor. I have been slandered and blacklisted. My career was ruined and my character assassinated in my community. I’m followed everywhere I go and under surveillance 24/7. This is my 4th IPhone. They hack into my phone and computer. I installed surveillance cameras and hacked into that too. The intelligence community is out of control and the government allows it. My complaints have fallen on deaf ears. The country is infested with informants that are ready to submit your name on a SAR.

  4. I think these guys are completely blowing smoke. More high grade FUD based on a grain of truth pulled from current headlines. The problem with these kind of claims is that they are so hard to disprove or even refute. Because the subject is spying, Apple can claim innocence all day and people would still assume they are lying. Personally, I don’t believe a word of it.

  5. I’m getting tired keep finding out new details about NSA spying program that make is significantly more terrible than I previously imagined it could be. And I knew it was terrible since 2001. This shit is illegal and wrong in every possible sense – how long did these fuckers think they could keep getting away with this shit?

  6. Damn, it seems this NSA stuff will never cease.
    It seems like every week some new revelation
    surfaces. At this point I am starting to think this
    Non-stop NSA leakage and coverage is deliberate psychological
    warfare against anyone contemplating on doing
    Harm to the country or engaging in serious criminal activities.

    This Snowden fella probably works for the government
    and everything he says or does is secretely approved by the government.

      1. What?

        So when NSA added code to Android you were worried and when Google is found to be evil you are talking about removing everything google, and NOW, all of a sudden “we don’t have to worry”?

  7. Now we know that even Apple isn’t sacred. MDN will even bash Apple, if it satisfies their libertarian political agenda.

    They should stick to prognosticating about Apple, though. MDN’s constitutional scholarship is greatly lacking. They read the 4th ammendment with the understanding of a 4th grader. Your phone and computer are not comparable to your home and your desk. The most comparable things from the era of the founding fathers is the mail. The governing law here is about about communications.

  8. The main worry is that the information will be used as extortion or blackmail. How bad would it be if an independent presidential nominee get close to winning in the future, but bows out because they’re threatened with cell phone conversations that may be taken out of context. The NSA has the full conversation in this instance, but only releases something that could be damaging to that candidate. How do you fight that when there’s little oversight and the NSA tells us not to worry?

  9. Lochness
    Fake moon landing
    JFK conspiracy
    Mayan end of the world prediction
    9-11 conspiracy
    Sky is falling

    Some people will believe any story these days.

    1. Five of those are actually true!

      If you were all to guess which of those five were true, I would bet 90% or more would guess the same ones. Which should tells you something.

  10. Ask yourself: where is this data stored?
    I doubt that data storage could hooked up
    fast enough to collect fast enough at a rate
    to keep up with what people perceive this to be…

    More troubling to me is why the 64 bit processor
    in the iPhone 5. Someone creating a distributed
    system over cell networks, a huge virtual memory
    that uses a small fraction of your CPU’s power,
    you’d never notice it and your phone is on most
    of the time. A virtual supercomputer that can
    make use of 2-10 million cpu’s at any one time.
    Cell wireless signals are the same speed up and down,

  11. It is notable that at least the document published by DER SPIEGEL is from 2008 and refers to the original iPhone with (as we now know it) iOS 1.0.

    Sure, weaknesses such as the one exploited by the infamous “jailbreak me” web site turned up in later iOS versions, but of course that one got fixed as well and iOS security was racked up considerably since then as well.

    So at least that document only says something about iOS antediluvian weaknesses which most likely don’t exist any more.

    And while it is of course possible that the NSA has found new ones even concerning the current iOS 7, it is also at least possible that they’re having a much harder time injecting their tools into recent devices.

    The previous documents which seemed to indicate that for the NSA attacking an iOS device effectively required taking over the PC where a hopefully unencrypted backup was stored would seem to point into the latter direction more than the former – that is a much more difficult path than the one suggested by that old document.

    It seems iOS has with newer versions become a much more difficult target at the very least, as it should have.

    1. To add: The document even indicates that “close access” was needed, apparently meaning physical access for “jailbreaking” the device to insert the exploit.

      As things stand, there is no (at least known) jailbreak for iOS 7 that could be applied to a locked device without the passcode. So at least that old path would most likely not work any more (unless the NSA in fact possesses a working jailbreak of that kind), and at least as described it would not work remotely (although they were trying to get there even then; See “jailbreak me”).

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