Leaked NSA document claims covert program grants complete access to the iPhone

By on December 31, 2013, 1:00 PM

The National Security Agency developed a program in 2008 that allows them to access nearly everything stored on an iPhone according to security researcher Jacob Applebaum and German news magazine Der Spiegel. Known as DROPOUTJEEP in a leaked document from late 2008, the program lets the agency intercept SMS messages, access contact lists, locate a phone using cell tower data and even remotely activate a phone’s camera and microphone.

Even more chilling, the NSA claims a 100 percent success rate when implanting an iPhone with the spyware although physical access to the handset is needed for installation. The German news magazine suggests special NSA Tailored Access Operations teams may have intercepted device shipments, opened and installed the software then sent them along to the end user.

Given how careless some people are with their phones, however, it probably wouldn’t be too difficult of a task for an undercover agent to perform the implant post-delivery, but I digress.

The leaked document also said a remote installation method would be pursued for a future release.

When asked about the program at the Chaos Communications Congress in Hamburg, Germany, Applebaum said either the NSA has a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products or Apple sabotaged it themselves. When pressed further about if he thought Apple helped the NSA, he said he hoped Cupertino would clarify.

It’s been more than five years since the purported leaked document was written. As such, we have no idea if the NSA moved forward with the program and if they did, how many infected iPhones are in the wild.




User Comments: 16

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amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Every single thing you do on your iPhone, every text message, picture and document, whether its local, on a microSD or shared, is accessible. You have agreed to ZERO privacy, and that's just Apple's agreement minus Uncle Sam getting anything from Apple anytime they want.

I am no Apple hater btw I love my iPad 2, but its no secret there are no secrets! My Droid 4 isn't much better but offers much more freedom IMO.

Nobina Nobina said:

A couple of days ago on a similar thread but with Android in question, someone said how iOS is more secure than Android. From the government, you can't hide.

IKROWNI said:

The funny thing is that I remember reading an article that stated Obama couldn't use an iPhone because it would expose him to security issues. But then I also remember reading an article about Obama saying he had no idea what the NSA was up to. Now I read an article about the apple products spayed on with 100% efficiency. Coincidence? Or did Obama lie again?

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I thought obama used a blackberry. I think that might've been a few years ago though.

Guest said:

One question, did this ever go from flow chart to an actual piece of software?

IKROWNI said:

I thought obama used a blackberry. I think that might've been a few years ago though.

Idk what he uses I just know I read that he's not allowed to use apple products because they are a security risk.

Guest said:

The document is half a decade old, I'm sure they've successfully automated the process by now. Regardless of the phone (iPhone, Android, etc.), it is compromised. We live in a police state, can you expect anything less?

2 people like this | davislane1 davislane1 said:

There is at least one benefit of this apparent rights violation. If you're ever questioned during a murder or armed robbery investigation and the cops ask if anyone can corroborate your alibi, if you have an iPhone, you can refer them directly to the NSA.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

There is at least one benefit of this apparent rights violation. If you're ever questioned during a murder or armed robbery investigation and the cops ask if anyone can corroborate your alibi, if you have an iPhone, you can refer them directly to the NSA.

Good idea but if you think the NSA are full of good guys and will help you out, don't be surprised if you find your ass being sent up the river.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

On related and less tongue-in-cheek note, I recall they did try to go "up the food chain" during the OJ trial and get satellite footage of him doing the deed and the gov't told them to stuff it.

In any event, I'm rapidly adopting the position that if an organization is a part of Uncle Sam's operations, it probably isn't friendly. George Orwell is turing out to be quite the prophet.

Guest said:

Privacy is more important now than ever before. We may not be able to hide from the NSA, but we can stop using sites like Facebook and Google. Just think about it. If you care so much about your privacy, if you are outraged by all of the NSA spying, then WHY are you using facebook and google. Those companies are just as bad, if not worse, than the NSA. This is why I advocate using privacy-based sites such as DuckDuckGo, Ravetree, HushMail, etc.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Privacy is more important now than ever before. We may not be able to hide from the NSA, but we can stop using sites like Facebook and Google. Just think about it. If you care so much about your privacy, if you are outraged by all of the NSA spying, then WHY are you using facebook and google. Those companies are just as bad, if not worse, than the NSA. This is why I advocate using privacy-based sites such as DuckDuckGo, Ravetree, HushMail, etc.

I ditched Facebook before ditching Facebook became a fad.

As for boycotting privacy-violating organizations... We exist in an ocean of "surveillors." Barring large-scale protests (like we saw with SOPA and PIPA), flocking to alternatives is like using an umbrella to protect yourself from the rain while you wade through flood waters. The only way anyone is disappearing from the radar is if they go completely off the grid (see: leave the U.S. and abandon the Internet).

That said, I really want to see what's in my file. I'd be extremely offended if I didn't have one that's both incriminating and damning. :P

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Since this needs to be installed, I wonder if a restore of iOS would remove the hack anyway?

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Wait... so in 2008 the NSA had a program that could hack iPhones. But we don't know if even a single iPhone out in the public was infected, or if the program continued to modern day iPhones. What was out in 2008, the original iPhone? This sounds like just another story of potential spying without a single consequence, benefit, or known victim.

GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

Wait... so in 2008 the NSA had a program that could hack iPhones. But we don't know if even a single iPhone out in the public was infected, or if the program continued to modern day iPhones. What was out in 2008, the original iPhone? This sounds like just another story of potential spying without a single consequence, benefit, or known victim.

Agreed, the whole NSA spying thing has become such a fad news story that I write off 90% of the articles anymore. They always say they have a leaked NSA document, which from the few people my family knows that did high level DOA and CIA work seems highly unlikely this many leaked documents would be around. After claiming this they never have any proof other then the occasional link to a shady website and there so called proof could still be made up. I am not saying I don't believe the NSA isn't watching internally(kinda what they were designed to do), but I really wish this stupid fad would just go away. The US government has been breaking privacy of its citizens since the civil war ended, but now its become some kind of huge deal. The whole privacy rights thing makes me laugh my ass off, what way were you ever promised privacy on the internet? It doesn't exist,never did nor probably ever will if you want more privacy in your life getting off the internet would be the largest step. At that point you have to be doing something very, very bad for them to starting watching you off the net.

scorpionvenom said:

I can see why America is hated

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