Apple Denies Ever Working With The NSA

Tyler Durden's picture

Yesterday, we broke the story that during the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, it was revealed that according to the NSA (the slide in question) virtually every Apple product can be "backdoored", and that the presenter of the discovery Jacob Applebaum openly asked Apple if it was just its "shitty software" that provided the NSA with this privacy invading loophole, or if it was Apple secretly working in collaboration with the NSA that permitted this betrayal of the iconic company's customers.

Moments ago the WSJ reported that according to Apple, it was just the "shitty software", as the company denied ever working with the NSA.

Somehow we doubt this will be the end of this particular story, especially since this is an implicit admission that Apple does, indeed, have "backdoors" in its products. Whether invited or not.

Perhaps as a follow up, Apple can also confirm that none of its products permit illegal backdoor access for the NSA or anyone else, especially now that the "implantation" mechanism has been made clear to the entire world?

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Dr. Engali's picture

Yeah and I never once jerked off.

Skateboarder's picture

Apple's got cake all over its mouth and saying "he ate it!"

mvsjcl's picture

Plan A: Deny

Plan B: Deny

Plan C: Deny

PR Guy's picture



Ah yes..... the NSA...... I have a cartoon about them somewhere....


Xibalba's picture

Devices that can have the batt removed are problematic for the NSA.  The 'tells' are obvious.  

Pladizow's picture

Clever choice of words?

Yeah, Apple didnt "work with" the NSA, they did it all themself!

nmewn's picture

Its the latest, most anticipated, hottest release evah!...they're lined up around the block, some sleeping in the snow out here for days Brandy!


BurningFuld's picture

And remember according to Judge what's his nuts in New York not only is this legal but it is encouraged. Best be putting pieces of tape over those camera lenses. (Front and Back)

jaap's picture

so, they are legal backdoors.

Temporalist's picture

I asked SIRI "Do you work with the NSA?" and she replied "I can't talk here."

jayman21's picture

What version?


The iphone 5 said she never thought about it.

fonestar's picture

Backdoor-ing your customers is a "team sport".

Anusocracy's picture

"Apple says it never worked with NSA to create 'backdoor' in products"

Apple weasel words.

It could have worked FOR the NSA to create 'backdoor' in products.

Rusty Shorts's picture

..ask SIRI "what is July27, 2014"  ..mine says "Sunday, opening Gates of Hades"  ...I'm not kidding.

aVileRat's picture

The greatest trick the devil performed was convincing the world he did not exist. The second greatest trick was that the technology industry convinced the world their existence was not a sock puppet for the military complex.

Consumer tech depends on the clicks and purchases of people. This depends on their ignorance, willful or otherwise. If everyone knows Google is not a goodwill service for people but a search service that swaps indexed search results for 100% monitoring and consumer preference mapping, will people use it ? Will they use Yahoo ? Facebook ? Snapchat ? how about Intel. Will Larry Ellison feel as confident in his ability to acquire new customers when his global subsidiaries are nationalized by governments afraid their code databases are broadcasting back to their NSA co-lo competitors ?

I suspect if this spirals out of control, and retail customers suddenly recognize their interests are compromised, the fallout for the tech sector will make Ralph Nader and the Ford Pinto (and the collpase of Detroit confidence) look like a firecracker in NYC winter snow.

How confident will the tech billionares be when their fortunes are halved in a consumer revolt and tech equity valuation collapse ? How will the governments respond when they see a snap upwards in consumer lawsuits when the adults realize not only their behaviour was tracked, but that the XBONE's were always on, and always watching their living rooms.

If we use a case precedent on when a national comfort was taken away from American people, the Iran oil shock, the natural response will be sweeping oversight at the USA for consumer rights. Abroad all countries will nationalize or strongly restrict tech imports. The nationalization abroad will claim to be for the security of citizens but in reality the expropriation will be used to repropriate the tech for their own industrial catalysts. As every country now has their own state sponsored "Google" a wave of new jobs will kick up, but the net effect will be a commoditization of the tech revolution. Another nail in the American exceptionalist story, and killing the massive productivity gains generated by silicon valley by selling bad code to the world.

Imagine what the nationalization sweep will do for the tech sector. Will the Hoffman's & Styers suddenly feel smug in their lifestyles when their equity valuations are south 40% ? Who will suddenly backstop the progressive green policy and distributive tax policies without the super-PACS at San Fran ?

This is why nothing will happen.

On an 'unrelated' note, while going for coffee this morning with a former Co-CEO of RIM, he openly mused about the triple witching hack attack on RIM and the rise of Apple who prior to 2004 had zero acumen in enterprise security subsystems. It was always a big question at RIM during the last few years where the DNS attacks that killed their creditibility came from or how the point source knew just which nodes to hit INSIDE the company mail-pushing intranet. It's also funny how all the creditibility hits to the RIM security came after the company was asked by FBI/DOD to turn over their gen4 security keys for review in 2006 after 15 years of bunker-proof red room testing.



Ying-Yang's picture

well said AVilerat.

The continued NSA revelations are having a compound effect on the masses.

People are slow to turn but they are turning. The paced release of NSA documents is brilliant!

TheReplacement's picture

That RIM gave up the keys to the kingdom to an 3rd party would appear to be what broke their security model.  They opened the door and their systems were no longer secure.  Shame on RIM.  They really have no one else to blame.

Double shame on any new companies who thoughtlessly follow in their foot steps.

palmereldritch's picture

Interesting article here by Wayne Madsen that attributes early Blackberry service failure to forced takedowns because NSA SatComm facilities suffered fire.  RIM has been on the NSA's radar from the get go...and as their robust security was compromised from without and then within, so was the company. Like a scene from Goodfellas...


April 17, 2007 -- Our sources inform us that a possible fire today has knocked out classified communications services at the US State Department's Communications Annex facility (State Communications Annex - SA26 - in Beltsville, Maryland), just outside of Washington, DC. Also affected by the outage is the joint National Security Agency-Central Intelligence Agency Special Collection Service (SCS) (F6) ("CSSG") located in a building off Springfield Road and located adjacent to SA-26, which is located at 8101 Odell Road. The SCS relies on the State Department backbone secure satellite communications for its links to covert listening posts and devices around the world. Agencies affected by the communications outage are the State Department, NSA, CIA, and Department of Defense. The State Department has been forced to use its backup facility. a CIA facility located at Brandy Station in northern Virginia.

Last October, a 6-alarm fire broke out on the roof of Nathan Hale Hall on NSA's Fort Meade, Maryland complex. Among other units, the building housed the 902nd Military Intelligence Unit, which maintains the Threat and Local Observation Notice database used to surveill threats to Army bases and personnel. "Threats" included peace and veterans groups.


Stuart's picture

Ergo, so Apple publicly says the NSA is full of shit.   This is going to get interesting.

glenlloyd's picture

The problem here is that the question asked of Apple was not worded correctly.

Their reply could in fact be true but because the question was not carefully worded to eliminate any loopholes they were able to avoid answering truthfully.

Apple may not have worked with the NSA directly but since the question didn't ask whether they had worked with a 3rd party or intermediary they didn't have to really answer truthfully.

It's all about how the question is worded.....

Indian_Goldsmith's picture

LOL you americans are so dumb as to believe that the real world is just like what hollywood shows in the movies! Do you seriously believe you can hide from someone as powerful as the Overlords?? NO!!! You cant hide!!

CH1's picture

The overlords are not gods, my friend.

If they were so smart, they would have killed the Internet in 1989... but they didn't and they ain't.

fonestar's picture

All of this emphasis on low-level access to devices has got me thinking that it is best to be paranoid and move my BTC to Linux-only, non-TPM infected machines.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Learning Linux might be a good New Year's resolution.

Being a little extra-paranoid is probably a good thing.

SHRAGS's picture

Steep learning curve, but there many ways to soften it. One thing you can do immediately is switch to open source software on your current OS and use that (Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice) for everything you can. All this software will then look familiar on your Linux machine once you have it running.

Don't go cold turkey, use a virtual machine to practice (VirtualBox, now owned by *cough* Oracle) is a good place to start on your normal desktop. You don't want to make the switch and break your normal machine or workflow, that will send you right back into the easy to use OS.

A virtual machine will run a little more slowly, but it means that you can break your installs (get dropped into the shell occasionally). You can also take snapshots and revert to previous states. You need to break a few installs before you get it right. You might want to bookmark a few tutorials on command line editors like Vi, nano & Joe.

Once you have mastered that, use an old machine in parallel.  Hardware support is the biggest problem area due to many peripherals being undocumented /closed source.   Linux will support almost all hardware that is openly documented or has been reverse engineered, but it can't perform miracles.  Problem area's are wireless network drivers & laptops with suspend & hibernate.

All of this can be worked around, it just takes planning and forethought & carefully choosing your hardware.  Plan your transition, rather than jump straight in.  There is an enormous help system through forums and write-ups available on the web. 

It will take some serious time & effort, but the reward will you being free (free as in free, not as in free beer) of closed source systems that you have ZERO control over. I've never looked back.

Once installed, they are pretty much rock solid. You keep practicing with virtual machines (Virtualbox runs also on Linux) for how to do updates and more advanced configurations.

Debian based distro's like Mint would be the choice of beginners.  Many of the skills can then be transferred to Ubuntu or Debian.  However that is just a personal preference, others will suggest beginner distro's.


MeelionDollerBogus's picture

learning curve is much less steep with Ubuntu. I'm still on it, 12.04/Precise as delivered by Linux Mint 13 / Maya (long-term support with 12.04 being long-term).

It's built on Debian. I've used Debian, and Gentoo in the past.

The real hard-core is Debian or Slackware.

Right now the hardest things I deal with on Ubuntu/Mint13 is learning which packages to lock so they don't "upgrade" and fuck with me. This has meant locking KDE and xserver down once they work and now I've done it to firefox. v26 is crap for taking away the downloads window and shoving it of all things into the bookmarks. I happen to like being able to force downloads, bookmarks & firefox windows into different desktops with different priority for being transparent or not when active/inactive and I can't do that if downloads are forced into the bookmarks window.

When I hadn't yet learned which packages to lock so they don't upgrade, can't be upgraded, I had display problems. with KDE updates may come xserver updates or at least something changing the config file FOR the x server.

The x server basically is your screen control.

When it goes all black and you can't control anything anymore that's bad. That's what I got when I let KDE or the xserver get updated from repositories (sources, URLs where new packages are) that didn't play well with my drivers, I was locked right out except pure text console. Not happy with that.

The easy way to install packages is with Synaptic and the easy way to lock them is to select one in Synaptic and in the top-level menu bar go to "Package" and choose "Lock version". It's just as easy to unlock any package that's been locked.

This prevents accidents. Synaptic is a root program so you can't stumble into it, it must be administrator-level / root account to do that.

As an added bonus sometimes multiple new versions are available for a package and the changelog will show you WHO made the change and when. That way you can figure out if 2 competing newer versions are from the same source. Generally what's "upstream" I avoid if I don't need to and what's "security" I go for (is a fix for identified security problems, usually is listed).

Sadly Firefox was NOT labeled properly in the changelogs for this which is how I got 26 and figured out it was crap & went back to 25. All they listed was a ton of patches applied & I figured I could trust the Mozilla people not to fuck with me. I was wrong.

Someone else mentioned problems with suspend/hibernate: I did have such a problem.

My recommendation is don't use it if you don't have to and also don't encrypt your home folder. This means learning a lot more about how ecryptfs works but it's worth it.

Instead of being unable to log in because something corrupts the encrypted data and you can't upgrade your OS or various other problems, I recommend learning how to manually mount a folder or partition that is NOT your home folder because your home folder /home/username is filled with config files needed for a successful login for the graphical environment.

And lots else.

It's easy enough to have something else loaded on demand and to link TO it all the time - the point being that when the encrypted folder / partition is not mounted the locations aren't visible so nothing is compromised.

That includes links to links. So just ONE subdirectory/folder within the encrypted folder could have links to other subfolders that are more descriptive and all the unencrypted links could point to THOSE encrypted links. Until you mount it none of the targets are visible so only the /home/username/links directory/folder would be known from the internal contents of the unencrypted links whereas the actual files could be in a much more descriptive location once it's mounted.

That way you could have email, downloads, various saved documents all in descriptive, helpful directory structures but at the same time none of it visible when not needed. And none of it needed to boot up & log in.

Also if you use GRUB to boot to Linux or Windows (boot manager) never delete the /boot directory unless you can restore the boot loader that was there before Linux was ever installed or GRUB will stay in charge and have nothing to look at for how to load the other operating systems (or Linux).

Can be fixed but that goes in the +10 level of hard and I think you're looking for anything lower than say... a 3.

Duke of Earl's picture

And only generate private keys offline using a *truly* random key generator. Create a paper wallet. If you aren't planning on spending them then you can just leave it all alone and check to verify that they are still there.

TheReplacement's picture

That is one of the more intelligent things I've read from you.  The problem is that Linux uses a lot of cryptography which has been shown to have already been pinholed by the NSA.  If you use the internet, no matter the tech/os, there is very little chance for a normal person to remain secure. 

raeb's picture

"It's all about how the question is worded......"


and made famous by: Bill  "That depends on what your definition of "is" is"

XitSam's picture

The answer was given by a lawyer or a PR person with no knowledge of the work with the NSA. No doubt this was a secret project inside an exceptionally secret company.

Indian_Goldsmith's picture

tape on cameras? wHAT FOR? If some hot chick at NSA wants tp see me jerk off and spill cum all over my abdomen, she's welcome :)) Maybe i'll think of her next time :))

Ying-Yang's picture

Oh well... Clapper does like young Indian boys

RangerRiley's picture

Every time i see a post from you it is the same type of smart ass stupid comments. Are you a bot? Is there a brain at work or just a random list of cliches?

EscapeKey's picture

They "worked with" the GCHQ, who in turn handed over the - propriety - information to NSA.

Who could possible have predicted this outcome?

Antifaschistische's picture

Here's my interpretation...

The NSA has insiders, inside APPLE who work on the NSA's behalf.   Of course, I'm sure the NSA wouldn't do the same thing for the worlds Database Providers....Or, does the NSA work directy with the wealthiest people in the world (i.e. the men at the top of a few organizations offering them unobstructed takeover opportunities (I didn't say Java or MySql) in exchange for "services".   But, I'm sure the NSA would never think of that.

zerozulu's picture

Its too late now. Apple cannot afford to close back door now.

Crash Overide's picture

"Yeah, Apple didnt "work with" the NSA..."

They work "for" the NSA just like Google and Cisco.

hidingfromhelis's picture

It was the least untruthful answer, after all.

NotApplicable's picture

"Apple says it never worked with NSA..."

That there folks, is "Truthiness" in action. It's easy to deny that abstractions (such as Apple, and the NSA) fail to act as humans since they don't even have the capacity to emulate individual humans.

The real question, of course, is whether individual people within either organization colluded (regardless whether or not they were pretending to represent an abstraction at the time).


Xibalba's picture

or did they work with a subcontractor? 

kchrisc's picture

Yeah, probably the same subcontractor in 'tribe' land that the NSA uses.

Emergency Ward's picture

all depends on what they mean by "Apple" or "it" or "with" or "worked" or "NSA" or Bill Clinton's lawyer can fill in the rest.  What a fucking joke.  It's too late in the game for these kinds of denials to work.

fallout11's picture

"The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. When you control the meaning of words, you control the people who must use those words to express meaning." - Philip K. Dick

Serfs Up's picture

Of course they didn't "work with" the NSA.


They collaborated.

Stoploss's picture

Buh bye AAPL.


Almost forgot.

Happy New Year Billy A.

G.O.O.D's picture

Buh Bye? Oh hell no. They will be classified as brave heroes in the war on teerah and the ppt-hfters will push their stocks to new highs. Bullish bitchez

EscapeKey's picture

Interestingly, their iPad line is effectively shrinking in market share.

Personally, I use an iPad, but a Droid based mobile. Both operating systems are NSA pwned to fxck, no doubt.

anonnn's picture

Childish parsing and fraudulent interrogatory.

Unprepared's picture

Of course Apple didn't give backdoor access to the NSA.

But it did provide a copy of the frontdoor key and alarm system deactivation pass.

G.O.O.D's picture

Honestly, this is no bullshit, would we lie to you?

You can trust us.