Leaked Documents Suggest CIA Work on Hacked Version of Xcode, OS X Installer Exploit

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    United States Central Intelligence Agency researchers have been working for years to crack the security of Apple's iPhone and iPad, and may have done so through the creation of a modified version of Xcode, Apple's software development tool designed for developers.

    According to secret documents obtained by The Intercept, at a 2012 "Jamboree" that focused on security flaws found in various electronics, CIA researchers outlined both a hacked version of Xcode and a modified OS X updater that could be used to install malicious software like keyloggers.
    The malicious version of Xcode could potentially be used to extract private data from devices that installed apps built by the hacked Xcode. Some of the things researchers said could be done with Xcode included installing "remote backdoors" in Mac apps, embedding an app developer's private key into iOS applications (letting the government masquerade as the targeted developer), forcing iOS apps to send data from an iPhone or iPad to a "listening post," and disabling core security features on iOS devices.

    None of the documents detail how the Xcode and OS X installer exploits have been used by the CIA, and they also don't state whether the efforts have been successful, but as noted by The Intercept, they suggest that the government's efforts to crack the security technology companies employ is a continually ongoing effort.

    Apple and the U.S. government have been at odds over privacy and security issues in recent years. A 2013 document leak suggested that Apple and other tech companies were working with the government on a secret project called PRISM, which allegedly provided the government with direct access to customer data on company servers.

    Apple and multiple other technology companies like Google vehemently denied their participation in such a program and have since gone to great lengths to ensure the public that they're not involved in the government's spying attempts. Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other companies banded together to ask for greater surveillance transparency and the ability to share more info on government data requests with consumers, which was ultimately successful.

    Apple launched a privacy site in September of 2014 outlining the privacy features of its products and services and offering detailed information on government information requests. Across 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook began putting a heavy emphasis on the importance of privacy, and with iOS 8, Apple significantly increased the encryption protection on iOS devices. Prior to iOS 8, Apple had the ability to access data on iOS devices with a company-held encryption key, and now, that no longer exists. Google has made similar changes.

    The FBI has strongly opposed Apple's efforts to increase the security of its iOS devices, with FBI Director James Comey insisting that government access to electronic devices is necessary in some cases. Apple has reportedly been in talks with FBI officials over its security changes, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has maintained Apple's commitment to privacy and security.

    At the White House Cyber Security Summit in February, Cook said customer trust means everything to Apple. "When it comes to the rights of customers and citizens, we're all talking about the same people," he said. "People have entrusted us with their most personal and precious information and we owe them nothing less than the best protections we can possibly provide by harnessing the technology at our disposal."

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Leaked Documents Suggest CIA Work on Hacked Version of Xcode, OS X Installer Exploit
  2. sputnikv macrumors 6502


    Oct 3, 2009
    this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone at this point. that in itself should be alarming
  3. impulse462 macrumors 68000


    Jun 3, 2009
    Every new article on them, it just becomes less of a surprise and more of an expectation.
  4. happydude macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2006
    a gasping dying planet
    well, thanks to apple for pushing back against big brother with something they (at least not yet or that we know of) have not been able to hack.
  5. JonneyGee macrumors 6502


    Jun 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    No surprise that they're working on something. The good news is we have no evidence that they were able to successfully implement it into other developers' apps.
  6. Reason077 macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2007
    I wish people would stop being so suspicious of agencies like the CIA. These hard working men and women are there to protect us all. From the terrorists.

    We all live in a safer and more secure world, thanks to the CIA!
  7. aaronvan Suspended


    Dec 21, 2011
    República Cascadia
    NSA should be angry about CIA encroaching on their turf.
  8. gusapple macrumors 6502a


    Jan 29, 2007
    The alphabetically sixth to last state.
  9. gusapple macrumors 6502a


    Jan 29, 2007
    The alphabetically sixth to last state.
    As somebody that lives near Bluffdale, Utah, I can tell you that the NSA is doing juuuuuuust fine.
  10. DiabBarca macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2013
    Omdurman - Sudan

    To protect us all?!
    From the terrorists?!
  11. theheadguy macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2005
    If there is even one person on here who is actually surprised by this, I have to wonder if their eyes are open to the world right now.
  12. TWSS37 macrumors 65816

    Feb 4, 2011
    A Jamboree sounds like a band should be playing with wash boards and jugs.
  13. giantfan1224 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2012
    It's all part of that Transparency in Government initiative that Obama ran on. Or did he ditch that a long time ago?
  14. Reason077 macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2007
    Oh, come on.

    First of all, that was like 100 years ago.

    Second, like my Pa used to say, "If you want to make an omelette, you have to cook some eggs".
  15. sinfonye macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2010
  16. bushido Suspended


    Mar 26, 2008
    i love your sarcasm
  17. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    We've sold all kinds of fun stuff like this to the government for years. Unless they're going to totally rewrite *nix they're going to have a hard time preventing it.
  18. TMRJIJ macrumors 68030


    Dec 12, 2011
    South Carolina, United States
    Wow. I didn't know there were spies on MR.
  19. Four oF NINE macrumors 68000

    Four oF NINE

    Sep 28, 2011
    Hell's Kitchen
    You're kidding, right?
  20. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    Yes so called (by the CIA) terrorists like Assange and Snowden . . . going after the genuine heroes of those world as those 2 I mentioned are.
  21. martygras9 macrumors 6502


    Aug 13, 2007
    I love you, comrade.
  22. antonis macrumors 68000


    Jun 10, 2011
    Seriously, what's wrong with US governments and their spying obsessions ? Do they really think than turning the entire world into a controlled dictatorship will make it a better place ?
  23. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    You think this idea only came around when Obama got power? This idea of the government hating non governmental security has been there for decades.
  24. derek4484 macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2010
    Pretty despicable what our government is doing. Everything they do to hack and infiltrate American's computers, phones, tablets, etc is a clear violation of Federal anti-hacking and computer fraud and abuse laws. Yet they do it anyways and the DOJ refuses to ever investigate how many laws our government breaks.

    When what you do is a crime and when the government does it, it's legal...thats how you know you live under a tyrannical government.
  25. the8thark macrumors 68040


    Apr 18, 2011
    Time for that spy to get his


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