NSA slides: Steve Jobs is Big Brother, Apple users are ‘zombies’

By , Sep 9, 2013

NSA data center in Utah

In case you missed our Sunday coverage of the newly exposed NSA tactics, the snooping agency – thanks to its secret 10-year initiative code-named Bullrun which runs at $250 million a year – has been able to successfully crack much of the Internet’s widely-used encryption technologies to compromise everyone’s online communications, banking transactions and other sensitive data.

And now, internal NSA slides from a 2010 report titled ‘Exploring Current Trends, Targets and Techniques’ and leaked by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shamefully depict iPhone customers as ‘zombies’. As if that weren’t enough, in a reference to the George Orwell book ‘1984’ Steve Jobs himself is being portrayed as Big Brother…

The German paper Der Spiegel published this set of slides Monday.

Although other smartphone platforms collect users’ anonymized location history for the purposes of improving location accuracy and traffic data, Apple’s presence, brand power and clout (and non-scandals like Locationgate) have led one particular NSA slide to refer to Apple owners as “zombies” brainwashed by Big Brother.

By the way, NSA documents also refer to Internet users as “adversaries”.

NSA slide (Apple customers are zombies)

Another slide references Apple’s 1984 Macintosh commercial – widely regarded as one of the most memorable and successful American television commercials of all time. Apple’s ad, seen below, depicts the then omnipresent IBM as Big Brother with the underdog Apple and its Macintosh destined to save the world from the Orwellian future.

Playing that card, the two NSA slides use Steve Jobs graphics to liken the late Apple co-founder to Big Brother.

NSA slide (Apple 1984)

NSA slide (Apple is Big Brother)

The NSA documents also reveal that the agency is able to access a wide variety of iPhone geolocation features and other data.

“The implication of the presentation is that iPhone users are somehow complicit in their own surveillance by buying iPhones in the first place,” Der Spiegel observed.

These slides are just shameful and in really bad taste, if you ask me.

Of all people, NSA dares painting Apple as Big Brother?

If anyone is Big Brother in this world, it’s organizations like NSA that have compromised online user’s privacy security over and over again, up to the point where anything and everything you do online is being eavesdropped, collected and analyzed by NSA’s humongous data centers.

The worst part: had it not been for brave individuals like Edward Snowden, we would have never known anything about the scope of NSA’s snooping and privacy intrusion.

As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, owners of iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices are definitely at risk of their “most sensitive data” being fully exploitable because the NSA is able to crack protective measures of these systems, previously believed to be highly secure.

NSA diagram

A follow-up story Sunday by the German news weekly Der Spiegel has revealed that the agency is able to leverage so-called backdoor access to infiltrate your computer remotely and decrypt the iPhone backup files created during each iTunes sync, injecting small scripts that enable additional access to at least 38 iPhone features.

NSA slide (MExican government email)

Finally, one particular slide from a presentation appropriately titled “Your target is using a BlackBerry? Now what?” shows an email from a Mexican government agency which was sent using BlackBerry encryption technology, intercepted by the NSA nonetheless.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden noted in a Q&A session over at The Guardian that “encryption works: properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on,” but also cautioned that “Unfortunately, endpoint security is so terrifically weak that NSA can frequently find ways around it”.

Indeed, as one cryptology expert tells the paper, “The NSA has huge capabilities – and if it wants in to your computer, it’s in,” The exact nature of NSA’s methods is closely guarded, as one particular NSA slide explicitly warns analysts, “do not ask about or speculate on sources or methods”.

“There will be no ‘need to know’,” another internal memo warns.

These methods include not only cracking widely used encryption technologies to make “vast amounts” of previously collected data newly “exploitable,” but also working covertly with standard bodies to influence international encryption standards and using powerful supercomputers to break encryption with brute force methods.

On a definitely related note (as noted by a commenter), spell ‘illuminati’ backwards and put ‘.com’ at the end and watch the NSA website pop up.

Wait, what?

Probably some joker’s redirect.

Top of post: NSA’s mega data center in Utah hosts supercomputers that crack online encryption, analyze Internet traffic and invade our privacy.

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  • FOFF

    lol and welcome to capitalism

    • Micaiah Martin

      How is this capitalism?

      • Little Sir

        Communism, as an economic philosophy, didn’t result in Big Brother, but as a political philosophy, it did. So I’m guessing FOFF is drawing a parallel between the Soviet Big Brother and our current Big Brother as a statement that the problem was never communism but rather gross abuse of power.

        Either that, or FOFF’s just a dip.

      • Micaiah Martin

        Well that still isn’t capitalism. This is closer to being Totalitarianism or possibly Communism.

  • Jar

    It is in fact a redirect.

    http://www.who. is/whois/itanimulli. com

    pontifier. com/

    arthurgoldwag.wordpress. com/2010/01/17/itanimulli/

    goo. gl/yWdnFy

    Take a break from being a complete delusional dumbass and you’d realise how easy it is to find who created that site.

    • Moi

      Agreed

    • Ray V

      In the article it states that its probably a joke. Why you angry man?

  • seyss

    do you guys remember the “Carrier IQ” revelation? a hacker found out a rootkit virus in the vast majority of smartphones that records everything you do.

    also remember the iPhone location tracking (even when offline / gps turned off) another hacker discovered?

    both cases were dismissed ..

    • jocastro

      f_ckers

    • FOFF

      yup

    • MastaBuild▲

      It’s called untrackerd. Ryan petrich solved that problem a long time ago.

  • Patrick

    as much as i hate the government, NSA and the Illuminati trying to achieve new world order i will always and forever be an apple fan and buy every product, i know this sounds weird to you but thats how much i love apple, and the NSA can go and s*ck some

    • Ray V

      You will buy EVERY product even knowing other products are better / cheaper? I love my iPhone but your statement is borderline insanity.

    • Ed

      sheep

      • Juicy-J

        Baaanh

    • LMAO

      LOL Illuminati trying yo achieve new world order

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  • ehX

    They haven’t mentioned anything for Windows Phone users. After reading this I really want to get one, or just a basic phone (not too much of a difference, heh). This is ridiculous. Now I’ll have to start going and deleting my iPhone backups and encrypting with TrueCrypt more often.

    No, I have nothing of value but it doesn’t mean I have to go and show everything to the NSA. I was REALLY hoping this article was a joke or pointing out someone made a parody of it when they said we were zombies…

    • MastaBuild▲

      Don’t delude yourself. Good ol Billy is very much part of the NWO minions, as he goes on pushing his depopulation agenda in Africa through vaccines and Gmo’s.

      This is exactly what the jailbreak community is for. The alliance of rebels that figure out how to hack themselves out of the beasts algorithms. Come on devs, I know we can do something at least to combat this? What codes need editing? We honestly shouldn’t be acting so helpless and need to quit acting like victims/sheep. I know the untrackerd tweak by Ryan petrich was a start but we need innovate to keep up with these goons..

      • ehX

        Yeah I figure they can, but it’s not like the device has any apps that will store information they could use. Plus with the new fingerprint sensor, I’d rather go to a more primitive device.

    • Undecider

      Windows Phone is compromised as well.

  • Undecider

    Something we should have known all along. Apple was nothing more than a false choice operation to sucker people into divulging their data.