WikiLeaks latest from the Vault 7 documents which related to the CIA’s electronic espionage programs to monitor the electronic communications of everybody in the free world has been dubbed ‘Dark Matter,’ and reveals the specially developed techniques to enable hacking of Apple products. In a statement on ‘Dark Matter,’ WikiLeaks said Thursday’s release includes details of the ‘Sonic Screwdriver’ project, described by the CIA as a “mechanism for executing code on peripheral devices while a Mac laptop or desktop is booting.” (Sonic screwdriver is named after a fictional high tech tool featured in the Doctor Who science fiction TV series.) The spy software was developed by the CIA Embedded development branch.
What makes Sonic Screwdriver far more sinister than other hacking tools used by security agencies is that it is embedded in the device’s firmware which means it is part of the operating system, thus it cannot be removed even by highly skilled users, it will simply reinstall itself every time the operating system is rebooted.
More sinister still, while mainstream commentators are saying that access to the firmware means the CIA have ‘assets’ in the Apple supply chain or are able to intercept shipments of devices and tamper with the system before the goods reach retailers, all coyly avoid mentioning the most obvious means of getting CIA spyware into Apple devices is by direct collaboration between Apple and the security services.
Outrageous as this may seem, it is widely known that high tech corporations in the electronic communications business owe much of their phenomenal success to collaboration with US government agencies. The ‘postern gates’ (back doors) installed operating systems and browsers are the best known examples of this.
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