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Has Apple Intentionally Installed Security Backdoors To Manipulate 600M iPhones?

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iOS device surveillance

A researcher has accused Apple of installing security backdoors in 600 million+ iPhones all over the world; an arrangement using which any iPhone can be manipulated and examined.

Indirectly, the researcher has accused Apple of collaborating with US security agencies such as NSA and CIA so that the usage of iPhone users can be monitored.

Apple has denied the accusations.

Who made the accusations?

Forensic scientist Jonathan Zdziarski, who is popularly called ‘NerveGas’ due to his hacking abilities presented a paper at a hacker conference in New York, where he has accused Apple of intentionally installing security backdoors in 600 million iPhones, which provides Apple surveillance level access to user’s GPS locations, photos, videos and browsing history.

In his blog post, he said, “I think at the very least, this warrants an explanation and disclosure to the some 600 million customers out there running iOS devices.”

He observed that there is no way to disable these unwanted security backdoors, and this proves that Apple is hiding some huge lies. If this is true, then Apple and Government agencies can easily access every user’s data, anytime they want.

You can check the entire paper by Jonathan Zdziarski onBackdoors, Attack points & Surveillance mechanisms on iOS devices 

Apple Responds

Apple has denied any such security backdoors in any iPhone device.

In a response to Tim Bradshaw, who is a renowned tech reporter, Apple said,

“We have designed iOS so that its diagnostic functions do not compromise user privacy and security, but still provides needed information to enterprise IT departments, developers, and Apple for troubleshooting technical issues. A user must have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer before that computer is able to access this limited diagnostic data. The user must agree to share this information, and data is never transferred without their consent.

As we have said before, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services.”

Are the accusations true?

Technology journal The Register has done some research into this allegations, and have concluded that the protocols installed by Apple are complying with America’s 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, wherein Government of USA has mandated technological companies to maintain backdoors in gadgets so that law enforcement agencies can carry their surveillance.

But Jonathan Zdziarski is insisting that the backdoors are way superior and advanced than the law requires them to be.

The problem is that consumers are not aware of any such backdoors being secretly installed by Apple. In a way, this can be termed as a breach of trust by the company which didn’t inform about such massive data leaks.

Although Apple has not been directly accused of working with government agencies to snoop into user’s data and information, but yes, it is being suspected that some of the services being thrown open by these backdoors may have been used by government agencies to collect data.

We will keep you updated as the investigations and research into these allegations is currently on.

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