Russia says U.S. accessed thousands of Apple phones in spy plot

  • Russia says NSA penetrated Apple phones in Russia
  • Apple and NSA didn’t reply to requests for remark
  • Russia says there was particular backdoor in Apple phones
  • Russia says U.S. intelligence utilizing main tech firms

LONDON, June 1 (Reuters) – Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) mentioned on Thursday it had uncovered a U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) plot utilizing beforehand unknown malware to entry specifically made so-called backdoor vulnerabilities in Apple (AAPL.O) phones.

The FSB, the primary successor to the Soviet-era KGB, mentioned that a number of thousand Apple phones had been contaminated, together with these of home Russian subscribers.

The Russian spy company additionally mentioned telephones belonging to international diplomats primarily based in Russia and the previous Soviet Union, together with these from NATO members, Israel, Syria and China, had been targetted.

“The FSB has uncovered an intelligence action of the American special services using Apple mobile devices,” the FSB mentioned in an announcement.

Neither Apple nor the NSA instantly responded to emailed requests for remark outdoors typical U.S. enterprise hours.


The FSB mentioned the plot confirmed the shut relationship between Apple and the NSA, the U.S. company liable for U.S. cryptographic and communications intelligence and safety.

“The hidden data collection was carried out through software vulnerabilities in U.S.-made mobile phones,” Russia’s international ministry mentioned in an announcement.

“The U.S. intelligence services have been using IT corporations for decades in order to collect large-scale data of Internet users without their knowledge,” the ministry mentioned.

The United States is the world’s prime cyber energy in phrases of intent and functionality, in keeping with Harvard University’s Belfer Center Cyber 2022 Power Index, adopted by China, Russia, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Shortly after Russia despatched its troops into Ukraine final yr, U.S. and British spies claimed a scoop by uncovering – and going public with – intelligence that President Vladimir Putin was planning to invade.

It continues to be unclear how that intelligence was gained.

Officials in Russia, which Western spies says has constructed a really subtle home surveillance construction, have lengthy questioned the safety of U.S. know-how.

Putin has at all times mentioned he has no smartphone, although the Kremlin has mentioned the previous KGB spy does use the web occasionally.

Earlier this yr, the Kremlin advised officers concerned in preparations for Russia’s 2024 presidential election to cease utilizing Apple iPhones as a result of of issues that the units are susceptible to Western intelligence businesses, the Kommersant newspaper reported.

At a Kremlin-organised seminar for officers concerned in home politics, Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy head of the presidential administration, advised officers to alter their phones by April 1, Kommersant mentioned, citing unidentified sources.

Writing by Guy Faulconbridge
Editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Guy Faulconbridge

Thomson Reuters

As Moscow bureau chief, Guy runs protection of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Before Moscow, Guy ran Brexit protection as London bureau chief (2012-2022). On the evening of Brexit, his workforce delivered one of Reuters historic wins – reporting information of Brexit first to the world and the monetary markets. Guy graduated from the London School of Economics and started his profession as an intern at Bloomberg. He has spent over 14 years protecting the previous Soviet Union. He speaks fluent Russian.
Contact: +447825218698

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