NSA ‘Can Tap iPhone, Android And BlackBerry Phones’

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

NSA can tap plenty of mobile devices, according to fresh leaks reported by Der Spiegel

The National Security Agency (NSA) can tap Apple, BlackBerry and Google smartphones using a variety of techniques, according to fresh leaks, believed to come from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The surveillance appears to be more targeted in nature, according to Der Spiegel. Other operations, like PRISM, appear to have involved blanket surveillance of people’s communications.

BlackBerry Q 10More NSA hacking revelations

In one case, experts said the NSA could access 38 iPhone features by first hacking the computer used to sync the device. Another document suggested GCHQ had helped crack BlackBerry encryption to get at SMS traffic.

The documents also indicated agents could access the BlackBerry Messenger service, which has been popular largely because of its security credentials. A BlackBerry spokesperson said the company would not comment on alleged surveillance of telecoms.

Der Spiegel did not reveal whether a rival service from Apple, iMessage, could be compromised by the NSA or other intelligence agencies.

Neither Google nor Apple had responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

It’s unclear if the leaks has come from Snowden, but one of the authors of the article is Laura Poitras, who has been in close contact with the whistleblower.

Meanwhile, Brazilian TV network Globo has claimed the US government breached the security of Google’s own network, as well as state-run oil firm Petrobras and systems run by the French foreign ministry.

Little detail was given on what kind of data was targeted, however, or how the US had been spying on those organisations.

A report last week claimed the NSA and GCHQ had covertly planted vulnerabilities in commonly used encryption, including SSL, which dominates the web.

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