WikiLeaks Latest Disclosure Says CIA Targeted Apple Users
In the shadow of WikiLeaks’ recent allegations that the CIA hacked smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and more, further reports detailing the government agency’s efforts to spy on iOS and Mac users specifically aren’t exactly surprising.
The new leak details the methods and software used by the CIA to break through the security measures on Apple products.
In the case of MacBooks, the documents claim the CIA used a tool code-named “Sonic Screwdriver”. According to WikiLeaks, this was a “mechanism for executing code on peripheral devices while a Mac laptop or desktop is booting” allowing an attacker to boot its attack software for example from a USB stick “even when a firmware password is enabled”.
The documents also detail a suite of malware called DarkSeaSkies which would covertly implant itself in the target’s computer and offer the agency both control over and access to the user’s device.
Perhaps most alarmingly, the WikiLeaks release highlights the existence of a “beacon/loader/implant tool” for the Apple iPhone called NightSkies expressly designed to be physically installed onto factory fresh iPhones.
WikiLeaks says that “while CIA assets are sometimes used to physically infect systems in the custody of a target it is likely that many CIA physical access attacks have infected the targeted organization’s supply chain including by interdicting mail orders and other shipments (opening, infecting, and resending) leaving the United States or otherwise.”
The CIA has not publicly commented on the legitimacy of the leaks but has previously insisted it complies with legal prohibitions against electronic surveillance “targeting individuals here at home, including our fellow Americans”.
Apple has also yet to comment.