WikiLeaks is at it again with another data dump, this time claiming the CIA has been hacking people’s iPhones since at least 2008, just one year after the Smartphone hit the market.
The new release, dubbed Vault 7 ‘Dark Matter,’ also contains documents — including some manuals for implants and rootkits — indicating the CIA can infect a Mac’s computer firmware. This type of infection cannot be gotten rid of, the document says, not even if the operating system is re-installed.
“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’,” reads a Wikileaks blog post. “The CIA’s ‘Sonic Screwdriver’ infector is stored on the modified firmware of an Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter.”
Also included in the dump is the manual for the CIA’s “NightSkies 1.2” an implant tool for the 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,” the Wikileaks blog post pointed out.
The documents WikiLeaks posted are at least seven-years-old, making it unlikely that any of the tools the CIA was using back in 2010 and earlier would actually be effective on Apple’s current devices. What we don’t know is how successful the CIA has been in updating its tools to target new iPhones and Macs.
WikiLeaks’ first dump earlier this month outlined the CIA’s hacking tools and what devices have been compromised. For instance, the data appeared to indicate the agency’s hacking allows it to eavesdrop on people via the microphones in Smartphones and Smart TVs.