Surveillance companies hate Apple’s impenetrable iPhones, iPads; Android infinitely more exploitable than iOS

“The secrets of one of the world’s most prominent surveillance companies, Gamma Group, spilled onto the Internet last week, courtesy of an anonymous leaker who appears to have gained access to sensitive corporate documents,” Craig Timberg reports for The Washington Post. “And while they provide illuminating details about the capabilities of Gamma’s many spy tools, perhaps the most surprising revelation is about something the company is unable to do: It can’t hack into your typical iPhone.”

“Android phones, some Blackberries and phones running older Microsoft operating systems all are vulnerable to Gamma’s spyware, called FinSpy, which can turn your smart phone into a potent surveillance device,” Timberg reports. “Users of the spyware are capable of listening to calls on targeted devices, stealing contacts, activating the microphone, tracking your location and more.”

“This is good news for people with iPhones, and perhaps for Apple as well,” Timberg reports. “But at a time of rising concern about government surveillance powers, it’s ironic that a different mobile operating system – Google’s Android – has emerged as the global standard, with a dominant share of the world market.”

MacDailyNews Take: Ironic. Or planned.

“The result is what might be called a growing ‘Surveillance Gap.’ Some civil libertarians have begun pointing out that the people on the safer side of that gap – with stronger protections against the potential for government abuse – are the relatively affluent people who already favor Apple products,” Timberg reports. “Those willing to pay a premium for an iPhone or iPad, perhaps for their design elegance or ease of use, are also getting disk encryption by default, an instant messaging system that resists eavesdropping and an operating system that even powerful surveillance companies have trouble cracking.”

MacDailyNews Take: Android. The OS for the gullible.

“Android is infinitely more exploitable than” Apple’s operating system. “Apple is the most vertically integrated technology company in the world. That means they have the ability to control every aspect of their devices, including the security… There are just huge swaths of Android that are outside the control of Google.” – Bart Stidham, a longtime telecommunications system architect based in Virginia

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As our own SteveJack wrote over a year ago on July 10, 2013:

As the post-PC world continues to diminish the use of crappy Windows PCs, which run a so-called operating system from Microsoft, a company that seemingly couldn’t wait to jump into bed with the NSA for whatever benefits that would offer, the conspiracy-minded could easily see why malware-prone Android phones and tablets are being pushed so hard to the ignorati worldwide through unending “Buy One, Get X Free” promotions, myriad slanted reviews that falsely equate Android devices with Apple products, and why lawsuits over blatant patent infringement are stalled in U.S. and other U.S.-allied nations’ courts for many years, while (and so that) Android takes hold as the world’s dominant OS in terms of unit share; get it in as many hands as possible.

But, of course, that would be crazy talk.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dale E.” for the heads up.]

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  1. I, for one, welcome our spying overlords.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist… 😉

    But seriously, it will never cease to amaze me how short-sighted and in denial people can be. I have talked to many Android users and they are basically oblivious to the real threats of their OS (and only interested in paying as little as possible for a phone).

    On the other hand, none of them (at least to their knowledge) has ever been targeted (no stolen credit card numbers or hacked emails). I imagine once real victims become plentiful, people will start to make this a consideration (maybe Apple should fund a few Russians to scare lots of Android users…. just kidding), but until then, most will chose price over security (as the masses did with Windoze).

    1. I’m always amazed how otherwise intelligent educated people can’t seem to assess quality and qualities to differentiate between choices. Most and I do mean Most can’t get past price as the ultimate differentiator.

    2. We have an executive where I work that doesn’t own a screwdriver. He is so mechanically inept he doesn’t change his own furnace filter. But he drives a BMW, cause you know, he’s a “car guy”.

  2. wow… I’ve read some android fans say some stupid things but this… just… wow.
    You obviously have no idea what jailbreaking is and have a very deluded view on android security.
    I guess an OS filled with holes is what can be expected when it comes from an advertising company and its built around java

  3. “iPhone—the phone for the affluent” ???
    Bull Puckey! (as they say in Wild West movies). Utter crap!
    I’m unwaged, and run a hand-me-down iPhone 3GS (Xmas gift), and a 2nd-hand iPad 1 (very low price). I’m planning to get another newer iPad, and am looking at the 2nd-hand market and Apple Store’s Refurb Zone to get something affordable.

    ‘Affluent’ I’ve never been, but that’s no obstacle.

    ps. my present desktop computer is a Mac Mini, the latest in a series of Macs acquired over the decades in just the same way!

    1. Eddie-C. Thanks for the perspective.

      althegeo – For all we know, Eddie lives off the grid and supports himself by growing his own food and trading work with neighbors. You know nothing about him, so just fuck off with your knee-jerk negativity.

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