The NSA can reportedly gain backdoor access to the iPhone, among many other tech products [Update]

The NSA can reportedly gain backdoor access to the iPhone, among many other tech products [Update]

The National Security Agency knows no boundaries — and has tools for spying that span computers, keyboards, firewalls and servers, or nearly all the security architecture created by major tech companies. That’s according to German news magazine Der Spiegel, which got its hands on an internal NSA document that apparently resembles a product catalog.

Update: According to AllThingsD, Apple has denied knowledge of the NSA’s backdoor technology. “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 company pledged.

The NSA division in charge of these tools, called ANT, steps in to penetrate networking equipment, monitor mobile phones and computers, as well as divert or even modify data, Der Spiegel reports.

In particular, Apple’s iPhone has been dragged into the latest revelations — a worrying fact for people all over the world who carry iPhones. One of the tools available is a spyware implant named DROPOUTJEEP, said to have been in development for the first generation of iPhones at the start of 2008 — though its status right now is unclear.

DROPOUTJEEP is said to allow for remote access and control through SMS or data service. This means that it can read messages, listen to voicemails, download and upload data, as well as pin down the phone’s location — all without being noticed by the user.


Other tools that the NSA apparently employ include an implant designed for Proliant servers manufactured by HP that can communicate with NSA infrastructure, an implant for CISCO firewalls, a software implant for Huawei routers, as well as a mobile system for wireless injection of exploits for Windows systems.

The NSA has sparked a chain of angry reactions from tech companies in the industry after months of revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden, who recently said his mission has been accomplished — and these latest documents give more evidence of how the government seems to have overstepped its boundaries.

Recently FacebookGoogleMicrosoftAppleAOLLinkedInTwitter and Yahoo formed an alliance to push their shared belief that “it is time for the world’s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information.”

Shopping for Spy Gear: Catalog Advertises NSA Toolbox [Der Spiegel]

Headline image via Tim Brakemier/Getty Images

Read next: Rethink