DROPOUTJEEP: Apple likely assisted NSA in making iOS devices spy devices

Famed technologist and white hat, Jacob Applebaum, gave a presentation at the Chaos Communication Congress which outlines the many ways the NSA compromises computer systems and networks.  The presentation is a follow-up to a report published by German newspaper Der Spiegel titled Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit.  They also published NSA’s Secret Toolbox: Unit Offers Spy Gadgets for Every Need, a supplement to their main article. What is interesting is how easily the NSA claims that Apple devices, such as iPhones and iPads, can be commandeered with a covert program called DROPOUTJEEP. Applebaum surmises, under obvious sarcasm, that the only logical conclusion is that Apple is actively inserting exploits in their iOS devices to turn those products into NSA spy tools.  You might want to get rid of that iPhone, now.  Here is what Applebaum has to say:

Do you think Apple helped them build that? I don’t know. I hope Apple will clarify that. Here’s the problem: I don’t really believe that Apple didn’t help them, I can’t really prove it but they [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.

Here is one of the Top Secret documents:


Here is a video of the full presentation, and I highly recommend you watch it in it’s entirety.  Though full of technical terms, the violations of privacy is something everyone can understand (well, except the NSA and the Obama Administration):



UPDATE: Apple released a statement concerning this:

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.

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1 comment

  1. Wow that is disturbing. I didn’t know that Apple didn’t sign on to
    PRISM until after Steve Jobs’ death. That makes me respect that guy a lot more

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