Two recently-discovered flaws in Apple iOS and Mac OS X have security experts openly asking whether the software vulnerabilities represent backdoors inserted for purposes of cyber-espionage. There's no clear answer so far, but it just shows that anxiety about state-sponsored surveillance is running high.
"One line of code—was it an accident or enemy action? I don’t know, but it’s the kind of bug I’d put in,” remarked Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at Co3 Systems, about the flaw in Apple OS X SSL encryption that was revealed last week. Schneier, a cryptography expert, alluded to the Apple SSL flaw during his presentation on government surveillance Tuesday at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. The point, he says, is that the U.S. National Security Agency as well as other governments involved in aggressive mass surveillance are going to take any means necessary, including finding ways to put backdoors into commercial products, such as by code tampering.
Security vendor FireEye Tuesday revealed yet another Apple software flaw that it says allows for key-logging of iOS devices such as iPhones. Was this just a simple coding mistake or something more sinister, such as a backdoor purposefully put into iOS 7.0?
“We have no evidence but we suggest this is a possibility,” said Tao Wei, senior staff research scientist at FireEye, which discovered the vulnerability associated with non-jailbroken iOS 7.0 devices.
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