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CIA tried to hack ‘Apple phones from the outset’

Updated March 11, 2015

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Breaching Apple security was part of a top-secret initiative by the US govt, aided by British intelligence: Report says.—Reuters/File
Breaching Apple security was part of a top-secret initiative by the US govt, aided by British intelligence: Report says.—Reuters/File

FRANKFURT: CIA researchers have worked for nearly a decade to break the security codes protecting Apple phones and tablets, investigative news website The Intercept reported on Tuesday, citing documents obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The report cites top-secret US documents that suggest US government researchers had created a version of XCode, Apple’s software application development tool, to create surveillance backdoors into programs distributed on Apple’s App Store.

Know more: US, UK hacked into systems of SIM card firm: report

The Intercept has in the past published a number of reports from documents released by Mr Snowden. The site’s editors include Glenn Greenwald, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work in reporting on the whistleblower’s revelations.

It said the latest documents, which covered a period from 2006 to 2013, stop short of proving whether US intelligence researchers had succeeded in breaking Apple’s encryption coding, which secures user data and communications.

Efforts to break into Apple products by government security researchers started as early as 2006, a year before Apple introduced its first iPhone and continued through the launch of the iPad in 2010 and beyond, The Intercept said.

Breaching Apple security was part of a top-secret initiative by the US government, aided by British intelligence researchers, to hack “secure communications products, both foreign and domestic” including Google Android phones, it said.

Silicon Valley technology companies have in recent months sought to restore trust among consumers around the world that their products have not become tools for widespread government surveillance of citizens.

Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2015

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