WikiLeaks Says CIA Targeted iPhone Supply Chain Since 2008
The controversial WikiLeaks has released new documents on several CIA projects aimed at infiltrating iPhones and Macs.
One of those programs is called NightSkies 1.2, a “beacon/loader/implant tool” that the CIA has been using since 2008, according to WikiLeaks. The tool is physically installed by a CIA operative on “factory fresh iPhones,” or handsets that users haven’t yet interacted with, apparently allowing the CIA to spy on the device owner. WikiLeaks believes it’s possible the CIA has redirected iPhone shipments to install the tool.
“While CIA assets are sometimes used to physically infect systems in the custody of a target it is likely that many CIA physical access attacks have infected the targeted organization’s supply chain including by interdicting mail orders and other shipments (opening, infecting, and resending) leaving the United States or otherwise,” the organization said.
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Dark Matter comes just a couple of weeks after the anti-secrecy organization released a trove of documents describing how the CIA over the last several years has targeted electronics made by a slew of prominent tech companies to further its espionage efforts. Apple was among the companies cited in the initial dump, believed to be the biggest in the CIA’s history.
The more than 8,700 leaked documents included mention of how the CIA is able to use bugs in Apple’s mobile operating system iOS to target unsuspecting iPhone owners. Apple (AAPL) responded by saying than nearly 80% of the flaws addressed in the leaks have already been fixed with security patches and added that it “will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities.” Google (GOOGL) echoed that sentiment after the WikiLeaks data revealed Android-based smartphones were also open to hacking.
The “Dark Matter” release expands upon that initial leak. Aside from NightSkies, WikiLeaks describes a project called “Sonic Screwdriver,” which, according to CIA documentation, can allow spies to remotely hack a Mac computer from a USB accessory plugged into the machine. Other tools, including one that lives inside the computer’s software that allows the exploit to function, were also documented in the leak.
The documents, including manuals and other information WikiLeaks obtained on the exploits, are now available on its website. In a livestreaming press conference on Periscope on Thursday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the Dark Matter release is “a small example” of similar material his organization plans to release in the coming days and weeks.
Neither Apple nor the CIA immediately responded to a Fortune request for comment.