Forbes has dropped a bombshell report regarding the NSA debacle, this morning, which involves a classified “Top Secret” document that details the U.S National Security Agency, at one point in 2008, reporting a 100% success rate in being able to install so-called “spying” software onto Apple’s iPhone – without the knowledge of device owners.
The program, known internally as “DROPOUTJEEP” (no kidding), is this week described by security researcher – Jacob Applebaum – as a “software implant” specifically designed for the Apple iPhone, that “utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality.”
What is SIGINT?
Signals intelligence (often contracted to SIGINT) is intelligence-gathering by interception of signals, whether between people (“communications intelligence”—COMINT) or from electronic signals not directly used in communication (“electronic intelligence”—ELINT), or a combination of the two.
As sensitive information is often encrypted, signals intelligence often involves the use of cryptanalysis. Also, traffic analysis—the study of who is signaling whom and in what quantity—can often produce valuable information, even when the messages themselves cannot be decrypted.
“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,” the researcher reveals, adding that “Command, control and data exfiltration [of a device] can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection,” once the software is successfully installed on a host.
“All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted,” he concluded.
The news follows just days after new software was discovered, which claimed to give hackers the ability to remotely activate the ‘FaceTime’ cameras embedded into all of the MacBook products Apple currently ships – silently – and without turning on the green indicator light, usually used to signal that the camera is in operation to the user.
When will it stop?