Apple has denied having any knowledge of the NSA’s ability to hack into iPhones following the release of documents showing that the NSA created software allowing it to retrieve data from the devices.
According to NSA slides dated 2008, the year after the first iPhone was launched, the security organisation had created software called DropoutJeep, which would allow it to spy on text messages, photos, contacts, location information, voicemails and live calls.
The slides suggested that NSA agents would need physical access to iPhones in order to install the software, although the organisation was pursuing remote installation capabilities.
However, Apple has denied knowledge of the software and insisted it had never cooperated with the NSA on it.
A company statement said: “Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a back door in any of our products, including iPhone. 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.
“Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.”
The news will further fuel fears about spying by the US security services following the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013.
According to Applebaum, the NSA claimed a 100 per cent success rate upon installation of the spyware, but it is not clear whether the security service was ever able to install it on any consumer devices.