It was Edward Snowden, the infamous former contractor for the National Security Agency who turned rogue and leaked thousands of pages of classified NSA intelligence documents, which included some speculation of Apple’s iPhone “special software” that authorities could activate remotely to be able to gather information about the user. Your iPhone can now secretly spy on you.
It was not clear if this “special software” was made up of standard diagnostic tools, or if the NSA intelligence agency had found a way to compromise the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple. Apple claims it does not allow government agencies to have direct access to its servers.
But NSA leaks from the Edward Snowden documents showed how the agency developed specific spyware to target iPhones, allowing information to be gathered from iPhone devices. Apple has denied being involved in any spyware development with the NSA.
With their latest operating system, iOS 8, Apple claims it is not even able to decrypt messages itself that come through its devices, as it values its emphasis on user security. But if these PRISM tools are already in place Apple may have plausible deniability with any compromise on current and future iPhone upgrades.
We do know that the documents leaked by Snowden revealed that iPhone security is an area of interest for the world’s spy agencies, specifically the British spy agency GCHQ where it was recently revealed to have used the UDID system to track iPhone users.
Apple was among the first company that was accused of participating in the PRISM data mining project of the NSA, but it was not the only one. The PRISM data-mining project allegedly involved extracting video, audio, pictures, documents, emails and connection logs from devices, allowing analysts to track the movement of the device’s user and the communications that they are receiving or sending out. Let the buyer beware with future upgrades of Apple as the NSA has its eye on iPhones and their users.