CIA Has Worked for Decades to Crack Apple Encryption

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March 10, 2015—Another leak provided by Edward Snowden has indicated that the Central Intelligence Agency has been working on cracking the security protocols of Apple products for years.

According to The Intercept, during a secret annual gathering, researchers from the CIA presented their strategies for exploiting security flaws that could give them the upper hand in the war the federal government has been waging on all of our electronic content. Top-secret documents show these researchers have been meeting and discussing their attempts and successes for the last ten years. The first meeting held by the CIA researchers took place before Apple released the iPhone.

By targeting of Apple’s security keys, CIA researchers hope to obtain a backdoor to encrypted data stored on Apple’s devices. The CIA’s active research into the technology may allow access to contents of any Apple product, leaving consumers vulnerable to CIA-backed intrusions.

Once researchers are able to find a way in, the software is finally “hijacked,” and personal products become tools in the CIA’s quest for more personal data. The documents do not offer a detailed idea of how successful researchers have been so far. However, it is clear that CIA is effective looking for ways to thwart the company’s attempt to prevent consumers’ data from being accessed by federal agencies or hackers.

If successful, CIA researchers would be able to decrypt a security system put in place to fight privacy violations.

During the meetings, some researchers claimed to have created a modified version of Apple’s software development tool known as Xcode. The software could be used by CIA agents to install surveillance backdoors into a customer’s iPhone. The software development tool could then give researchers enough power to develop apps that would give researchers access to a consumer’s personal phone data.

Other programs successfully modified by CIA researchers include the OS X updater. The program is used in Apple computers when updates are available.

Documents leaked by Snowden also claim the researchers are not content with only hacking into Apple products. Other items were mentioned in the meetings include Microsoft’s BitLocker, an encryption system that Microsoft clients use on their laptop or desktop computers with premium editions of Windows.

The CIA has not offered an explanation for these meetings. It has also declined to comment on the leaks.

This report follows a reorganization of the CIA carried out by Director John Brennan. According to reports, the CIA Director used this rearrangement of the agency to expand its focus on digital spying. In spite of concerns brought up by privacy advocates, Brennan believes the attention to the digital world is essential to the CIA’s role.

As Apple launches its new Apple Watch, news concerning the possible violation of Apple security systems may eventually hurt the company’s sales.

In the name of national security, the federal government is undermining the market’s intentions to meet consumers’ needs.

Do you think the most recent Snowden leaks could help the public to pressure the federal government to put an end to its digital surveillance programs? Share your comments below.

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Source: The Intercept

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