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Good News: NSA Bugs Your iPhone

Written By : William Teach
December 31, 2013

Is there anything domestically that the NSA isn’t bugging, other than carrier pigeons? Maybe the NSA is just into selfies?

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(Zero Hedge) Following up on the latest stunning revelations released yesterday by German Spiegel which exposed the spy agency’s 50 page catalog of “backdoor penetration techniques“, today during a speech given by Jacob Applebaum (@ioerror) at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, a new bombshell emerged: specifically the complete and detailed description of how the NSA bugs, remotely, your iPhone. The way the NSA accomplishes this is using software known as Dropout Jeep, which it describes as follows: “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.”

Tyler Durden then provides some of the documentation of how this all works, then notes

Either way, now everyone knows that their iPhone is nothing but a gateway for the NSA to peruse everyone’s “private” data at will. Which, incidentally, is not news, and was revealed when we showed how the “NSA Mocks Apple’s “Zombie” Customers; Asks “Your Target Is Using A BlackBerry? Now What?

How ironic would it be if Blackberry, left for dead by virtually everyone, began marketing its products as the only smartphone that does not allow the NSA access to one’s data (and did so accordingly). Since pretty much everything else it has tried has failed, we don’t see the downside to this hail mary attempt to strike back at Big Brother and maybe make some money, by doing the right thing for once.

Congratulations on your choice of iPhone. What’s even worse is that there seems to be a national collective shrug after a brief period of being mad over all the extent to which the NSA is spying on American citizens. It matters zero as to whether they are doing anything with our data: it’s that they are collection our data in violation of the 4th Amendment.

Hey, how about bugging computers? (via Instapundit, who wonders if this explains all the late Christmas deliveries)

(Der Spiegel) Take, for example, when they intercept shipping deliveries. If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops. The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called “load stations,” agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.

These minor disruptions in the parcel shipping business rank among the “most productive operations” conducted by the NSA hackers, one top secret document relates in enthusiastic terms. This method, the presentation continues, allows TAO to obtain access to networks “around the world.”

Ace isn’t certain we should be worried about this one, and ends with “what did everyone think we were paying them (the NSA) to do, exactly?” I assume he’s referring to the Der Spiegal story, since he mentions both of the same articles. If the laptop one is being done in a targeted manner against specific individuals/entities with court approval, no, we shouldn’t be worried.

The problem is who the NSA is using all this against. American citizens who’ve done nothing wrong or illegal.

There’s also a device called Nightstand, which can hack a WiFi signal up to 8 miles away. This one I’m not concerned with, as it is doubtful that there are devices covering the country listening in. The NSA has plenty of other methods to gather our data.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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