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Cellphones Government Handhelds Iphone Security Apple

CIA Tried To Crack Security of Apple Devices 119

According to a story at The Guardian passed on by an anonymous reader, The CIA led sophisticated intelligence agency efforts to undermine the encryption used in Apple phones, as well as insert secret surveillance back doors into apps, top-secret documents published by the Intercept online news site have revealed. he newly disclosed documents from the National Security Agency's internal systems show surveillance methods were presented at its secret annual conference, known as the "jamboree."
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CIA Tried To Crack Security of Apple Devices

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  • If i wanted to really know someone, I'd bug the computer in their pocket with the GPS and the microphone.

    The big news is, when does the "hey lets go after foreign enemies" change to "well, american, foreign, it's all the same to me"

    The hacked compiler is kind of interesting too. Lets insert backdoors into ALL TEH iTHINGs!!!

  • Required Reading (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2015 @12:21PM (#49226387)

    http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/ken/trust.html

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2015 @12:22PM (#49226393)

    Through their hard work, numerous exploits have been discovered, which has led to Apple patching them, which in the end keeps us all more secure.

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2015 @12:23PM (#49226403) Homepage

    I mean honestly , hands up who DIDN'T think this had happened?

    Ok , you and you over there - hand in your geek badges at the door on the way out.

    • I'm surprised CIA/NSA/etc can't simply compel a company to open their stuff up to spook software/hardware.
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2015 @12:35PM (#49226489)

      The sad part is that you can take whatever atrocity you would have attributed to the Commies in the 1980 and transplant it to today's "world of the free" without losing any credibility. Take whatever story from back then, replace "Russia" with "USA" and "KGB" with "NSA" and you're good for another headline.

      Ok, you could have done that any time. But now it doesn't take a conspiracy nut to consider it credible.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Sending political prisoners to asylums on a regular basis?
        Shooting people who try and leave your country?
        Covering up gigantic nuclear power plant meltdowns until there's so much radiation that denying it ceases to have a point?

        So here's me saying that I don't really agree with you on your assertion.

        • Sending political prisoners to asylums on a regular basis?

          We still have the Guantanamo Bay prison open. Not really political prisoners, but a number are innocent yet still stuck there. The government does go after people who try to act politically. They just don't send them to asylums (usually). But they do try to intimidate them, interfere with their plans and try to discredit them publicly.

          Shooting people who try and leave your country?

          Yeah, we don't do that, thankfully.

          Covering up gigantic nuclear power plant meltdowns until there's so much radiation that denying it ceases to have a point?

          Remember when the EPA said it was safe for people to return to lower Manhattan after 9/11/01? It wasn't, and they knew it.

          So here's me saying that I don't really agree with you on your assertion.

          I don't compl

        • by Prune ( 557140 )

          Shooting people who try and leave your country?

          Since, according do your statement, they succeed in leaving the country, it's kind of hard to shoot them afterwards. On the other hand, they sure did shoot people who tried to leave the country.

        • Sending political prisoners to asylums on a regular basis?

          Only the unpleasant ones. For which the US has a much more sensible system than the USSR had. The US learned that you don't have to silence everyone who speaks out. Only those that could have an impact and develop followers. That's also the reason for free speech, or what's left thereof. As long as you don't get too many listeners, you can say whatever you want, it doesn't matter anyway.

          Shooting people who try and leave your country?

          Only 'cause it ain't necessary. Where do you want to go? There is no "West" you could flee to. The whole world works to th

      • by sribe ( 304414 )

        Take whatever story from back then, replace "Russia" with "USA" and "KGB" with "NSA" and you're good for another headline.

        Shooting people dead for trying to leave the country?

        • by dlt074 ( 548126 )

          wait for it. it may come to that. it's a logical extension of current trends. when those with money and skills exit faster then the flood of unskilled government benefit seekers. we can't very well have all the greedy producers abandon all the needy voters.

          not too far fetched.

      • Yeah, I hate all those landmines the USA put down to keep people from leaving Utah.

        I was just walking my dog one day and BOOM, my dog lost a leg. ... and the rest of his body parts too, but he definitely lost a leg.
      • How old are you? If you seriously think that the state of the USA now and the state of the USSR then are in any way analogous makes me think you can't be very old. And, the fact that you called it Russia and not the USSR makes me doubly think you are a young one. Were you even born when the Berlin Wall came down?
        • I was aiding GDR refugees fleeing from Hungary to Austria. It's been quite a moving time for a young person.

          Granted, that was during the quite interesting months just prior to the Berlin Wall coming down, but that's not the point. And I call it Russia because that's the name it has today. Plus, it's shorter than Soviet Union and I'm kinda lazy.

          We're not quite there yet, granted. And we sure are far away from what the SU was during the Stalinist era. But so was the Soviet Union, even there things were not as

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2015 @12:36PM (#49226509)

    CIA Tried To Crack Security of Apple Devices when the NSA already did

    should've just asked, bros!

  • Compiler compromise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by facetube ( 4023065 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2015 @12:41PM (#49226561)
    Ken Thompson was a visionary, but he probably didn't envision it'd be his own government doing the compromising:
    Reflections on Trusting Trust [bell-labs.com]
    • by ameline ( 771895 )

      I was thinking about whether they planted a self propagating back-door into LLVM/CLANG, but that seems fragile as both CLANG and LLVM can be compiled with other compilers (recent versions of MSVC and GCC for example) -- that would likely clear out a hidden back door unless they have compromised *all* the compilers. (And I certainly wouldn't put that past them.)

      (Waves to friendly NSA/CIA/CSIS/GCHQ analyst.)

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        How many methods can ensure every product ships with a tame always ready trap door and back door for the US gov?
        The US gov has a few options as the public history of the NSA and GCHQ shows.
        Ensure the product design is set to a standard thats open to the security services.
        Generations of brand staff help the security services with every product and network as developed.
        The security services set up their own front company and sell to the world over decades setting tame junk standards.
        Any other method will
    • by Prune ( 557140 )
      The process to detect this compromise not only exists, but can be automated. http://www.dwheeler.com/trusti... [dwheeler.com]
  • likely succeeded too (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2015 @12:45PM (#49226587)

    you know that DRAM hack-attack that was just made public? how much you wanna bet the US gov had a hand in making that possible?

    • by Nyder ( 754090 )

      you know that DRAM hack-attack that was just made public? how much you wanna bet the US gov had a hand in making that possible?

      I doubt that. My guess is it's just a prime example of cutting costs. It's cheaper to run non-ecc ram, and it's cheaper to implement software based ECC, then it is for hardware ECC.

      Corporations want to make as much profit as possible, and the best way to to use cheaper components when making stuff.

      Unless you mean the actual software to exploit it? This issue isn't new, just no one has actually made a proof of concept and shared it with the public. Guess it is quite possible that other people (NSA, Ha

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      you know that DRAM hack-attack that was just made public? how much you wanna bet the US gov had a hand in making that possible?

      TFA mentions several things. First, they tried to write their own version of Xcode and tools to be able to substitute it on a victim's machine, they also tried to crack Apple's keys (which TFA claims they didn't manage to do) - it's unclear if it's Apple's signing keys, the per-device iOS keys, or what) etc.

      I think the CIA would've had an easier time if they just jailbroke the devic

    • Clearly, the NSA has compromised the laws of physics.

  • by beefoot ( 2250164 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2015 @01:16PM (#49226825)
    I really hope no one believe what the article says. The government wants all of us to believe that we're safe and secured by the overreaching NSA. All USA government needs is to ask apple (or any companies) to disclose their encryption scheme. It is far cheaper and more effective than trying to hack or crack anything, don't you think?
    • I think it is most effective when the company selling the product does not have a clue that it exists. Government agents could easily pose as programmers and work into sensitive positions within companies. A company could spot most alterations of a product already issued if the number of bits of code increased in any portion of the program.
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2015 @01:16PM (#49226831) Journal

    I don't think this is a "tried to" at all, just look at the permissions a lot of stuff asks for.

    Facebook, a bunch of EA games, Angry Birds, etc all ask for insane permissions ranging from your full contact list, to seeing who you are on a call with to accessing the microphone. It's a spook's wet-dream.

  • Would anyone place bets that some operating systems also have government spyware built in? Open source makes it less likely but sealed code such as in Windows products very likely does have built in spy ware. And I would bet that some encryption and compression programs are fishy as well.
  • The big news is not that the CIA was trying to break in. Hearing that they were trying means they still needed to get in.

    Its when you STOP hearing they are trying. Because the only time they STOP trying is when they have in fact achieved their goal. These are not people who give up when it's too hard. They never quit. Unless they've won.

  • How successful or unsuccessful were they?

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