WikiLeaks: CIA hacking tools infiltrate iPhones, MacBooks – Apple: It’s an old story

WikiLeaks have been known to publish classified documents for a long time, and Thursday was no different the whistleblower organization revealed a new set of documents called “Dark Matter” from the “Vault 7” leak stating that the CIA has been infecting Apple products with a series of tools to spy on the US citizens.

According to the reports, CIA used a tool named “Sonic screwdriver” to infect MacBook microcode using the Thunderbolt port. Another tool was used by CIA to contaminate the iPhone’s early versions which was being used to collect personal information of the users including call logs and SMS history.

Now, what’s interesting to note here is that to infect Apple products CIA had to access the Apple products supply chain physically and as per revealed documents, CIA was using these hacking methods since 2008.

In response to these reports, CIA officials said “It is CIA’s job to be innovative, cutting-edge, and the first line of defense in protecting this country from enemies abroad. America deserves nothing less.”

The above statement clearly shows that CIA has something to do with it, so the documents revealed by WikiLeaks do appear to be authentic.

After the revelation of this report, Apple Officials also took the chance to comment on the situation stating that: “Based on our initial analysis, the alleged iPhone vulnerability affected iPhone 3G only and was fixed in 2009 when iPhone 3GS was released”

They further added, “Our preliminary assessment shows the alleged Mac vulnerabilities were previously fixed in all Macs launched after 2013.”

What Apple omitted in their statement was that some of the malware was designed to permanently affect the EFI/UEFI (same as BIOS in a PC) and even with updates wasn’t removable. Whether Apple is aware of this particular problem or is being intentionally deceptive is unknown.

Full statement from Apple via TechCrunch

“We have preliminarily assessed the Wikileaks disclosures from this morning. Based on our initial analysis, the alleged iPhone vulnerability affected iPhone 3G only and was fixed in 2009 when iPhone 3GS was released. Additionally, our preliminary assessment shows the alleged Mac vulnerabilities were previously fixed in all Macs launched after 2013.

We have not negotiated with Wikileaks for any information. We have given them instructions to submit any information they wish through our normal process under our standard terms. Thus far, we have not received any information from them that isn’t in the public domain. We are tireless defenders of our users’ security and privacy, but we do not condone theft or coordinate with those that threaten to harm our users.”

Although the Apple security team claims to patch these flaws, WikiLeaks think otherwise. In a Tweet, the organization said: “Apple’s claim is duplicitous.”

Previously, WikiLeaks released a trove of data under Vault 7 leak alleging the CIA of hacking Samsung Smart TV and spy on users. Following the leak, developers of VLC player and NotePad ++ had to issue fixes to protect their users from the CIA.


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Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.