With every bit of news we get about the NSA, the less surprised we should be about the information they can get on us, and the lengths they'll go to get it.
While we had some more details about the secretive group leak over the weekend, new information has emerged from Germany about the NSA's DROPOUT JEEP program, which allows the organization to break into iPhones with a 100-percent success rate.
According to Jacob Applebaum, who spoke at the Chaos Communication Conference in Germany:
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.
Crazy? Yeah, but what may strike some as a total surprise is that Applebaum believes that there's a chance Apple likely helped the NSA with building the program.
I hope Apple will clarify that… Here’s a problem: I don’t really believe that Apple didn’t help them. I can’t really prove it, but they [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.
Android and BlackBerry seem to be in the crosshairs of the NSA as well, as the German newspaper Der Spiegel reports that the NSA has also found relatively simple ways of cracking them too.
Watch Applebaum's speech above.