Apple, Nokia and RIM supply backdoors for government intercept, according to hacked memo

Hacked memo leads us to believe Apple, Nokia and RIM supply backdoors for government spying.

3 minutes & 27 seconds read time

First up - this does not surprise me. I've thought for a very long time that this happens, as with most things, right under our noses and no one even knows. I'm sure it goes much deeper than this, and we'll never find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes, but on with the news. A group of Indian hackers known as "The Lords of Dharmaraja" had posted documents that were pillaged during the hack of an Indian military network. It was removed, but thanks to Google Cache, you can see an image of it below, and if that's not good enough, click here to read it directly.

Apple, Nokia and RIM supply backdoors for government intercept, according to hacked memo 12

Slashdot had reported on it too, and unveils some more info:

The memo suggests that, "in exchange for the Indian market presence" mobile device manufacturers, including RIM, Nokia, and Apple (collectively defined in the document as "RINOA") have agreed to provide backdoor access on their devices. The Indian government then "utilized backdoors provided by RINOA" to intercept internal emails of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a U.S. government body with a mandate to monitor, investigate and report to Congress on 'the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship' between the U.S. and China.

Apple, Nokia and RIM supply backdoors for government intercept, according to hacked memo 13

Then we have the actual document here, with points one and two not that interesting, but three and four are some eye-openers:

Apple, Nokia and RIM supply backdoors for government intercept, according to hacked memo 14

Security and privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian tweeted about a possible "intercept backdoor" that Apple provided to the governments, (as seen in the above picture), there were additional interesting points found while reviewing other @csoghoian tweets. One of them said "Instead of worrying about hackers getting access to 5+ year old Norton code we should worry about what NSA/US Military does with recent code."

Apple, Nokia and RIM supply backdoors for government intercept, according to hacked memo 15

It's not just Apple, either. Or even RINOA (RIM, Nokia, and Apple) according to this Twitter conversarion between Soghoian and Morten Kaasa. Kaasa asked "Who is less 'evil'? Microsoft or Google? I suppose Apple is out..." to which Soghoian replied, "Microsoft has access to your data when you use Skydrive. Microsoft is quite open about it. Not real crypto."

The 'backstory' of the hack was posted on Pastebin on December 21, claiming:

Our Pastebin account was locked and permanently deleted by unknown GVMNT losers. Well we know the reason Y - first of all We do not think Indian Intel is so braniac, It all comes down to USA LE fagots, since they do not want people know about their Secret Negotiations with Corporations and Governments what concerns CHINESE." It included a Imgur link to documents called "the preview of the INDIAN MI spy programme called RINOA which they utilize to spy on USCC and so on.

Symantec, on Facebook confirmed:

That a segment of its source code used in two of our older enterprise products has been accessed, one of which has been discontinued. The code involved is four and five years old. This does not affect Symantec's Norton products for our consumer customers.

Symantec claim that the source code was not stolen directly from its network, but from an unconfirmed third-party. The Lords of Dharmaraja claimed to have taken the files from Indian military intelligence servers. Cyber-security guru Bruce Schneier agreed that the exposed source code is not a big deal, but "Bad press is certainly Symantec's biggest worry right now."

According to The Atlantic Wire, Schneier said "The source code might have huge smoking guns" and some of those reported "smoking guns" point toward former CIA, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence, according to an interview on InfoSec Island with Yama Tough - who was one of the hackers allegedly involved in the breach. Tough wrote (typos included):

As soon as we r over with the blockade we experience from Indian and US LE and Intel, since the issue not really in Symantec but In fact that India is spying on USCHINA ECON SEC commission (example William Reinsch Larry Wartzel, Dan Slane, Michael Dannis etc emails) we think since they are former CIA US and India block our mirrors and we have many of our brothers now under search and ceizure warrants pending Symantec is not a big deal they just happened to sign an agreement with Indian MI thats all the deal is what kind of stuff we;ve owneed by owneeing MEA servers...we expect to publish by 10th -16th this month.

It's pretty shocking, but shouldn't come as a surprise to most people. Wire-tapping has been the norm in the US for nearly half a century or more now, and with huge servers within Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, etc - do we not think that our every move, letter, phone call, text message, and location is being seen and catalogued by someone, somewhere in the world? Worst of all, by the Governments that are meant to be "for the people"?

SOPA, eat your heart out. All it will take is an "attack" from "hackers" to enforce these types of rules, and more. After all, look at what happened to the freedom of America after 9/11.

Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

Newsletter Subscription

Related Tags