Apple designing its own servers to to avoid NSA from snooping on its user’s data
Ever since the serial whistleblower and former NSA contractor leaked classified information about how the United States government and its agencies are snooping on computers and mobile phones, almost all tech companies are taking steps to curtail the same. Apple too has been a victim of government surveillance as can be seen from the recent FBI vs. iPhone battle and is seen to be taking some steps on its own to avoid such snooping.
According to a report in The Information, published yesterday, Apple has begun designing its own servers. Building own servers helps because the government agencies can intercept the hardware before it gets delivered to Apple.
The Information notes that,
“Apple has long suspected that servers it ordered from the traditional supply chain were intercepted during shipping, with additional chips and firmware added to them by unknown third parties in order to make them vulnerable to infiltration, according to a person familiar with the matter,” the report said. “At one point, Apple even assigned people to take photographs of motherboards and annotate the function of each chip, explaining why it was supposed to be there. Building its own servers with motherboards it designed would be the most surefire way for Apple to prevent unauthorized snooping via extra chips.”
While security isn’t issue Apple is facing, it has also had problems with Amazon Web Services servers where most of its applications are hosted now. Currently, services like iTunes are mostly outsourced to other providers like Amazon or Microsoft’s competing Azure.
The premier US digital spying agency, National Security Agency (NSA) is known to intercept and modify equipment (create backdoors) before it reaches the hands of its intended customers. Apple is now looking to pre-empt such an eventuality by hosting data on its own servers in encrypted format.
Apple is not the only one, Google had earlier announced it would begin encrypting all data that travels through its data centers after information leaked that the NSA had tapped undersea cables to spy on Google’s data centers from the inside. Even Cisco has been a part of this spying cat and mouse game. Last year, Cisco’s security chief announced it purposefully shipped to fake locations to keep the NSA from targeting and intercepting its hardware.
If at all the news is true, the US government is bound to take serious objections to Apple’s own encrypted servers and could force it through warrants to allow agency like NSA to spy on user communications like it did in San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone case.