The gift of Edward Snowden's NSA docs just keeps on giving (the NYT is calling for his clemency as a whistle-blower today, in case you missed it), and this week we learn that government spys created some iPhone-specific spyware back in 2008 that was designed to allow access peoples' photos, activate the phone's microphone or camera, intercept text messages, and determine a person's location via the nearest cell towers. The program was dubbed DROPOUTJEEP, as the Wall Street Journal reports.
After the latest leaked document surfaced, dated October 2008, Apple issued a statement Tuesday denying that it had cooperated at all with the NSA, or provided them with any "backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone." And:
"Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers' privacy and security. Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements."
Also in response to the leak, the NSA released its own, highly predictable statement:
"NSA's interest in any given technology is driven by the use of that technology by foreign intelligence targets. The U.S. pursues its intelligence mission with care to ensure that innocent users of those same technologies are not affected."
It's unclear where or how one might have accidentally downloaded DROPOUTJEEP or how to figure out if you have it on your phone now, but perhaps one of your geekier friends can help with that. A person "familiar with the matter" told the WSJ that Apple is pretty sure that the spyware dates only to the operating system of the day, and that OS's 5, 6, and 7 are not vulnerable to the spyware.