Russia accuses Apple of helping US spy on iPhone users

data spy security hack

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) reckons American intelligence agencies were assisted by Apple in infecting iPhones with malware.

The allegation was made in a press release which doesn’t seem to have an English-language version. According to the Google translation, the FSB uncovered ‘previously unknown malicious software that uses software vulnerabilities provided by the manufacturer’ in thousands of iPhones. It goes on to conclude this suggests ‘close cooperation of the American company Apple with the national intelligence community, in particular the US NSA’.

While it seems Russia has a history of making these kinds of public accusations, any suggestion that Apple would deliberately compromise the security of iPhone users is potentially damaging for the company. So far it seems Apple’s only public response has been a short statement given to multiple media saying “We have never worked with any government to insert a backdoor into any Apple product and never will.”

On the same day Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky blogged about something they’re calling the Triangulation Trojan. It’s described as ‘an extremely complex, professional targeted cyberattack that uses Apple’s mobile devices’. While no reference is made to the FSB claim, the blog does say ‘We’re confident that Kaspersky was not the main target of this cyberattack.’ It goes on to claim that the closed, proprietary nature of iOS makes it ‘a perfect haven for spyware’.

Apple will presumably take the time to fully investigate both sets of claims and any direct relationship between them. Apple devices on the whole have a historical reputation for high levels of security, something it will presumably be keen to maintain. In the absence of supporting evidence, the Russian allegation of it collaborating with US spooks needs to be taken with a big pinch of salt, especially when you consider two countries are currently at proxy war with each other.


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