Snowden: The CIA has been working “for years” to break iPhone, iPad and Mac security
Update: One of the approaches suggested – modifying Xcode to inject malware – has now been used, though we don’t at this stage know who was responsible.
The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted “a multi-year, sustained effort to break the security of Apple’s iPhones and iPads,” claims The Intercept, referencing new Snowden leaks of a document from the CIA’s internal wiki system.
A presentation on the attempts, focusing on breaking Apple’s encryption of iOS devices, was said to have been delivered at an annual CIA conference called the Jamboree.
Studying both “physical” and “non-invasive” techniques, U.S. government-sponsored research has been aimed at discovering ways to decrypt and ultimately penetrate Apple’s encrypted firmware. This could enable spies to plant malicious code on Apple devices and seek out potential vulnerabilities in other parts of the iPhone and iPad currently masked by encryption.
One route reportedly taken by the CIA was to create a modified version of Xcode, which would allow it to compromise apps at the point at which they are created … Expand