Apple Strikes Back at NSA's "Malicious Hackers"

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
Apple Strikes Back at NSA's "Malicious Hackers"

Apple Inc. executives have labeled leadership of the U.S. government's National Security Agency “malicious hackers” and have vowed to fight against reported NSA software hacks of all of Apple's iPhones.

NSA documents published by the German magazine Der Spiegel boast that its program DROPOUTJEEP “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.” 

In other words, if the NSA wants to pull any information from someone's iPhone, or wants to listen to what's being said (even if there's no active call), there's nothing a user can do about it. Moreover, the NSA can track Americans' movements through the phones' GPS systems. DROPOUTJEEP is a software program produced by the NSA's ANT program. 

The Der Spiegel revelations come just months after various news agencies revealed that the NSA had employed its espionage techniques against innocent Americans. An NSA auditor found that the NSA violated privacy law thousands of times in 2012, and the NSA admitted that its staff had used its technology to spy on wives and girlfriends — so-called LOVEINT — in defiance of both statutory law and the Constitution's Fourth Amendment (which requires a warrant, probable cause, and specificity for searches to be “reasonable” and constitutional). 

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,” Apple said in a statement released December 31. “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.”

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Photo of sign displaying Apple logo outside company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.: AP Images

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