New claims intelligence agencies can tap iPhone, Android and BlackBerry phones

9 Sep 2013

In the latest raft of revelations to chip away at the crumbling façade of privacy in our connected world, it has been claimed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) can tap into sensitive data on BlackBerry, Android and iPhone devices, including contacts, SMS and location information.

The online component of German news magazine Der Spiegel, Spiegel Online, has cited top secret documents that indicate the NSA set up working groups to target each operating system.

Experts are understood to have posted that they can infiltrate an iPhone via the computer individuals use to sync their phones.

It is understood there are scripts in place to enable access to at least 38 features on the iPhone.

Similar levels of success were achieved when hacking the BlackBerry ecosystem, it was claimed, which is surprising because the BlackBerry network had been considered impenetrable. The only time the NSA failed to access the BlackBerry network was in 2009, when the company changed the way it compresses data, Spiegel reported.

The documents allege strong collusion between the NSA and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spook agency which celebrated regaining access to BlackBerry’s network with one word: “champagne.”

Right now there are few corks popping as people digest more unsavoury revelations that cast doubt about the internet they’ve come to depend upon. Last week, documents provided by rogue NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggested the NSA had worked hard and has mostly succeeded in cracking most encryption systems that exist in the world today, in some cases allegedly with IT industry collusion.

Cyber spy image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years