Apple goes on the defensive against NSA iPhone spying allegations

Yesterday we reported on a presentation by security researcher Jacob Appelbaum that reportedly showed leaked NSA documents in which the agency claimed to have a “100 percent success rate” at installing spyware on iPhones. Following those accusations, Apple has officially responded in a statement provided to TechCrunch:

Apple has never worked with the NSA to create a backdoor in any of our products, including iPhone. Additionally, we have been unaware of this alleged NSA program targeting our products. We care deeply about our customers’ privacy and security.  Our team is continuously working to make our products even more secure, and we make it easy for customers to keep their software up to date with the latest advancements.  Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers.  We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them.

The leaked NSA documents detailed in Appelbaum’s presentation above and first released on German news site Der Spiegel claimed an NSA program called DROPOUTJEEP allowed officials to access almost all data stored on an iPhone, including location, text messages, contact lists, and the device’s microphone and camera. The reports claimed the NSA needed physical access to devices to install the spyware– something it could accomplish by intercepting online shipments– but a version that could be remotely installed was reportedly in development. Apple’s statement today seems to address Appelbaum’s accusation (below) that Apple might have had prior knowledge of the program: Read more

Samsung requests Apple reveal terms of Qualcomm partnership, might reveal next LTE chips

Samsung made a formal request with the U.S. District Court in California for Apple to reveal the intricacies of its contract with wireless chipmaker Qualcomm, who currently supplies chips for the iPhone 4S, CDMA iPhone 4, and iPad 2. Qualcomm is currently in a cross licensing agreement with Samsung, bringing up the question of whether “Apple’s buying Qualcomm chips is as good as paying for the patents.” The documents could potentially reveal Apple’s plans to move to Qualcomm LTE chips in future iOS devices.

Specifically, Samsung defense lawyer Dylan Ruga wants to know if Apple is considered a “Qualcomm Customer,” a term that is “defined in certain licensing agreements between Samsung and Qualcomm.” The request was discovered in court documents by Korea Times and later confirmed by Samsung Electronics spokesperson Lim Yoon-jeong. Korea Times reported:

Samsung Electronics is alleging that Apple has infringed on Samsung-owned patents that relate to technology embodied in chipsets used in Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The documents are expected to determine whether Apple is in fact a direct customer of Qualcomm — and potentially immune from Samsung’s suits — or whether it purchased its chips through an intermediary.

Here is an excerpt from the document that has not been released by the courts: Read more