After the Snowden leaks regarding the scope of NSA’s spying efforts, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone to hear the recent claims that the NSA is able to install spyware on the iPhone via its DROPOUTJEEP program. Reports claim that the NSA currently needs physical access to the device in order to be able to install the spyware, but a version that can be remotely deployed in currently in the works.
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. We care deeply about our customers’ privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements. 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.
It’s pretty telling that Apple has had to resort to indirectly labeling the NSA as “malicious hackers”, though it’s not the only one calling the spying agency names as Microsoft has also begun to claim that the constant spying is basically an “advanced persistent threat”, something that shouldn’t be used lightly.
The term “advanced persistent threat,” by the way, isn’t a casual colloquialism that Redmond invented. According to the Wall Street Journal, the phrase “carries special weight in cybersecurity circles and is often used to describe hacker teams backed by the Chinese government.” That comparison is striking.
Let’s not forget Mark Zuckerberg’s comments regarding this issue too.
He said after the news broke in the Guardian and the Washington Post about Prism, the government surveillance programme that targets major internet companies: “The government response was, ‘Oh don’t worry, we’re not spying on any Americans.’ Oh, wonderful: that’s really helpful to companies trying to serve people around the world, and that’s really going to inspire confidence in American internet companies.”
The disappointing thing about all of this is that despite being a democracy, we’re having to rely on large technology companies who have massive clout and money to hire expensive lawyers in order to fight this. Something definitely isn’t right here.