The NSA Can Tap BlackBerry OS, iOS And Android Says Der Spiegel

/ 3 years ago


A fresh report emerging from Der Spiegel suggests that the NSA is capable of accessing data on any smartphones in the world running popular operating systems like BlackBerry, iOS and Android. Apparently the NSA has tapped into all leading mobile operating systems and can gain access to contact lists, SMS traffic, notes, user locations and more. Der Spiegel’s sources are reportedly classified internal NSA documents.

The leaked documents reveal that the NSA has working groups dedicated to the hacking of each mobile operating system and each working group is responsible for gathering data from targeted handsets running the respective operating systems. The NSA’s greatest successes have reportedly come with the iPhone where it is able to hack into the computer used to sync the mobile device enabling them to access 38 iPhone features.

In terms of the Blackberry OS the NSA had troubles in 2009 when Blackberry compressed data in a certain way but by March 2010 they had found a way around the problem – a cause for internal celebration at the NSA. The most damaging part from Blackberry’s reputation is that their email service, thought to be one of the most secure in the mobile world, was also hacked. Blackberry have always claimed their email service is impenetrable and Blackberry commented that they have not built a back door pipeline and that it was not their place “to comment on media reports regarding alleged government surveillance of telecommunications traffic”.

Der Spiegel did however note that smartphones are not currently subject to mass surveillance and the tactic was used to target only specific individuals without the knowledge of any mobile handset companies or OS developers.

Details on the Android OS hackings were not covered and the Windows Phone OS was not mentioned in the Der Spiegel report.

Image courtesy of Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski

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