CIA Infects iPhone Supply Chain with Persistent Surveillance Malwares | Vault7

Wikileaks has released its second Vault7 installment codenamed “Dark Matter,” which details how the Central Intelligence Agency CIA purposely infects the entire iPhone supply chain with undetectable, persistent malwares for its unfettered, highly unlawful surveillance activities.

Dark Matter

23 March, 2017

Today, March 23rd 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 “Dark Matter”, which contains documentation for several CIA projects that infect Apple Mac firmware (meaning the infection persists even if the operating system is re-installed) developed by the CIA’s Embedded Development Branch (EDB). These documents explain the techniques used by CIA to gain ‘persistence’ on Apple Mac devices, including Macs and iPhones and demonstrate their use of EFI/UEFI and firmware malware.

Among others, these documents reveal the “Sonic Screwdriver” project which, as explained by the CIA, is a “mechanism for executing code on peripheral devices while a Mac laptop or desktop is booting” allowing an attacker to boot its attack software for example from a USB stick “even when a firmware password is enabled”. The CIA’s “Sonic Screwdriver” infector is stored on the modified firmware of an Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter.

“DarkSeaSkies” is “an implant that persists in the EFI firmware of an Apple MacBook Air computer” and consists of “DarkMatter”, “SeaPea” and “NightSkies”, respectively EFI, kernel-space and user-space implants.

Documents on the “Triton” MacOSX malware, its infector “Dark Mallet” and its EFI-persistent version “DerStarke” are also included in this release. While the DerStarke1.4 manual released today dates to 2013, other Vault 7 documents show that as of 2016 the CIA continues to rely on and update these systems and is working on the production of DerStarke2.0.

Also included in this release is the manual for the CIA’s “NightSkies 1.2” a “beacon/loader/implant tool” for the Apple iPhone. Noteworthy is that NightSkies had reached 1.2 by 2008, and is expressly designed to be physically installed onto factory fresh iPhones. i.e the CIA has been infecting the iPhone supply chain of its targets since at least 2008.

While CIA assets are sometimes used to physically infect systems in the custody of a target it is likely that many CIA physical access attacks have infected the targeted organization’s supply chain including by interdicting mail orders and other shipments (opening, infecting, and resending) leaving the United States or otherwise.

Leaked Documents

By extension, any Apple desktop and laptop computers running on the same operating system were also infected.

In short, whatever benefits that you are enjoying with your latest iPhone and iMac model are effectively defeated with the loss of your privacy. What is there left if even in your own passive domicile, Big Brother is still intruding into?

In a related news, some hackers have also threatened to remotely wipe out 300 million iPhones if they are connected to the iCloud infrastructure.

Hackers: We Will Remotely Wipe iPhones Unless Apple Pays Ransom

Joseph Cox, Mar 21 2017, 7:03pm

“I just want my money,” one of the hackers said.

A hacker or group of hackers is apparently trying to extort Apple over alleged access to a large cache of iCloud and other Apple email accounts.

The hackers, who identified themselves as ‘Turkish Crime Family’, demanded $75,000 in Bitcoin or Ethereum, another increasingly popular crypto-currency, or $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards in exchange for deleting the alleged cache of data.

“I just want my money and thought this would be an interesting report that a lot of Apple customers would be interested in reading and hearing,” one of the hackers told Motherboard.

The hackers provided screenshots of alleged emails between the group and members of Apple’s security team. One also gave Motherboard access to an email account allegedly used to communicate with Apple.

“Are you willing to share a sample of the data set?” an unnamed member of Apple’s security team wrote to the hackers a week ago, according to one of the emails stored in the account. (According to the email headers, the return-path of the email is to an address with the @apple.com domain).

The hackers also uploaded a YouTube video of them allegedly logging into some of the stolen accounts. The hacker appears to access an elderly woman’s iCloud account, which includes backed-up photos, and the ability to remotely wipe the device.

“We firstly kindly request you to remove the video that you have uploaded on your YouTube channel as it’s seeking unwanted attention, second of all we would like you to know that we do not reward cyber criminals for breaking the law,” a message allegedly from a member of Apple’s security team reads. (Motherboard only saw a screenshot of this message, and not the original). The alleged Apple team member then says archived communications with the hacker will be sent to the authorities.

This should hurt the iAgency significantly.

One thought on “CIA Infects iPhone Supply Chain with Persistent Surveillance Malwares | Vault7”

  1. I think it is time for people to do the responsible thing and open a class action against CIA (it is legal) and APPLE for their complicity in this criminal activity.
    Enough is enough…

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