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Your iPhone is the Government’s Perfect Surveillance Device

It was hard to believe when Alexey Borodin successfully created an in-app purchase hack that allowed for free downloads of digital goods, but what does it say about Apple’s security now that we know there is prominent spyware capable of infiltrating our iPhones? It’s called FinFisher and it’s made by Gamma Group, and even though it’s said to be made for use by government agencies only, this is going to make some iPhone users squirm.

As a law enforcement tool, FinFisher certainly sounds effective. It basically turns our iPhones into the perfect surveillance devices through a variety of means. Bloomberg first came out with the news about iPhones being susceptible, and in their report they note the following:

“The program can secretly turn on a device’s microphone, track its location and monitor e-mails, text messages and voice calls…”

In other words, all the private/sensitive stuff you do with your iPhone—they can know about it using FinFisher. Judging from how advanced this software must be, we’re assuming Gamma Group also has some pretty tricky ways to get it onto our devices if the situation calls for it. That process apparently involves messages that would be masked as coming from Apple (or RIM, if we’re talking Blackberry, which is also susceptible), and from there you’d be prompted to “please install update,” after which you’re a walking surveillance unit.

All of this came to light thanks to research performed by the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs’ Citizen Lab. Seeing as the government is involved, it’s hard to say how far Apple will go toward locking out FinFisher. At this point, all we can do is be aware, it’s either that or buy the latest version of Windows Phone.

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