According to The Daily Dot, the tool is called DROPOUT JEEP. And, at least for the time being, the hack software must be manually installed on the phone. This could be done, for example, by the NSA “interdicting” an iPhone during shipping, installing the hack and then shipping it on to the address of the owner.
Here is the NSA document touting the tool, but note that the date is 10/1/08 and it is possible that Apple has strengthened iPhone security substantially since then:
Update: Apple provided the following statement yesterday 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.
Of course, the iPhone is not alone in being targeted by the NSA. For more details on exactly how the hacking is done, how backdoors are inserted and overall takeover of the Internet by the NSA, check out this talk by Jacob Appelbaum, speaking in Germany yesterday.
- How the U.S. NSA remotely bugs your Apple iPhone (macdailynews.com)