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Snowden Document Indicates that iPhones Can Spy On People

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Sunday, April 5th, 2015


Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower, has dropped yet another bombshell. As per the latest documents leaked by him, Apple Inc.’s flagship product, the iPhone; is equipped with a secret software that can turn it into a spying device. The special software, nicknamed as iFeature, allows the government agencies such as the NSA to collect information from the iPhones without raising any kind of red flag.

As per the information released by Snowden, the iFeature software can be activated remotely and it doesn’t even need any kind of authorization from the device owner. Once activated, the software works in the background and provides a secret backdoor access to the device to the intelligence agencies. As you can imagine, this feature not only compromises the data stored on the iPhone and communications made from the device but also allows the intelligence agencies to track the device owner’s movements as well as perform all kinds of analysis on the personal and sensitive data of the iPhone users.

In an interview with the Russian media company RIA Novosti, Snowden’s attorney Anatoly Kucherena not only revealed the details about the software but also mentioned that Snowden doesn’t use an iPhone precisely because of this reason. Kucherena said that since the software can activate itself without needing any kind of input from the user, using an iPhone could jeopardize Snowden’s location and allow the intelligence agencies to keep track of his movements. He also revealed that Snowden uses a simple phone to prevent the possibility of NSA or any other security agency spying on him.

This is not the first time that iPhone finds itself at the wrong end of the privacy debate. A few days back, it was reported by many media outlets (including us) that the British Intelligence agency was able to track iPhone users in real time by exploiting the flaws present in the Unique Device Identifier (UDID) which was used in the older versions of iPhone. (You can read the article here: https://vpncoupons.com/leaked-snowden-documents-show-gchq-tracked-iphone-users-real-time/)

While exposing the details about the iFeature program, Snowden did not reveal whether the software was included in iOS by Apple itself or whether the NSA was able to compromise the security of the operating system used in Apple’s mobile devices. If the latter is true then it should set alarm bells ringing at Apple’s headquarters since the company prides itself on having the very best security features in its products.

Apple, on its part, has always maintained that it does not provide direct access to its servers to the NSA or any other government agency. Even when Snowden leaked details about the PRISM program, the company defended its security record and reiterated that the personal data of its customers was safe and secure. Since then, Apple has improved the security of its products and has even incorporated user defined encryption in iOS. However, the latest leaks from Snowden is sure to reignite doubts among iPhone owners whether their data is really safe from surveillance.


April 5, 2015
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