A new top secret document leaked by Edward Snowden in the huge NSA privacy scandal now reveals another astounding fact : if you’re a smartphone user, running on Android, iOS or BlackBerry OS, your private data can be tapped by the NSA at any time.
The German newspaper Der Spiegel published the document which proves that the National Security Agency is perfectly capable of accessing your sensitive data on your smartphone, regardless of your OS or manufacturer. The data includes your contacts list, your SMS traffic and your location information revealed by your GPS tracker.
NSA created special departments to deal with every mobile OS, the final goal being to secretly getting access to your private data stored in your smart device.
NSA’s experts were actually bragging about their successes when hacking into computers using scripts that exploited the syncing software between iPhones and PCs.
Another disturbing fact from the document is that that the NSA managed to hack into BlackBerry OS, back in 2009, and they were able to see and read the SMS traffic and even the “secure” BIS mail system from the RIM company. This security breach could prove fatal for BlackBerry, a company which is used mostly by “business” users, because the BIS was advertised to be uncrackable by the Canadians. And obviously, that’s not the case.
When questioned about the issue, BlackBerry officials stated that they weren’t providing the NSA with backdoors in their platform and also that :
“It is not for us to comment on media reports regarding alleged government surveillance of telecommunications traffic.”
That’s not an answer, in my opinion, denial is the first step when dealing with a problem, acceptance comes later, and it’s usually too late. Keep in mind that BlackBerry is already in trouble, losing market share; after these revelations I expect their stock to plunge like a brick.
According to Der Spiegel, this type of smartphone spying was not a mass phenomenon, NSA just targeted individual users and without the consent of the smartphone manufacturers.
Visit SPIEGEL ONLINE International on Monday for the full article.