Oct 19, 2018 | Updated: 04:34 PM EDT

Apple-NSA Backdoor Services: iOS 7 Jailbreaker Jonathan Zdziarski Discovers iPhone Functions That Allow Data-Collection via USB or Wi-Fi

Jul 23, 2014 02:50 AM EDT


Known for his skills as an iOS hacker and forensic scientist, Jonathan Zdziarski has allegedly discovered several undocumented "backdoor" services in the mobile operating services of Apple that could be exploited by the NSA and other law enforcement agencies, iTnews reports.

Further, it also opens the possibilities for other perpetrators and malicious parties to intercept sensitive personal data by bypassing the encryption of the iOS devices.

Zdziarski, one of the early members of iOS jailbreaking teams, presented his findings in a talk at the annual Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE/X) conference in New York. It is a hacking and development conference that has been running for some time now. He said in his talk that the mobile operating system of Apple has undocumented functions that makes data grabbing possible via USB connections or even wirelessly over Wi-Fi -- meaning it can be done without the need for passwords or personal identifications numbers.

Based on his findings, these functions serve no other purpose except to provide access to user data on the devices. While the function could be used for management tools, they could be undermined and used for unauthorized access of data and other personal information.

To demonstrate his discovery, Zdziarski did a test via Twitter where he was able to utilize these undocumented functions to retrieve information including the database of private messages as well as deleted messages. He said that these backdoors are low-level operating system components that are not anything new since they have been around for years.

While he did not accuse Apple for working with the NSA, Zdziarski suspected that the spy agency might have been using these services to collect data from certain individuals. Furthermore, he also said that iOS 7 on iPhone 5 is still more secure than other competing devices excluding security from Apple itself and the U.S. government.

According to AppleInsider, Jonathan "NerveGas" Zdziarski is the author of "Hacking and Securing iOS Applications" and an expert in iOS jailbreaking.

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