MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — The Central Intelligence Agency has been conducting research for years to break Apple’s encryption security for its iPhone and iPad products, according to new documents.
According to the documents gathered by the news site The Intercept, the agency’s security research experts have been gathering at an annual conference called the the “Jamboree” for 10 years to share ideas about exploiting encryption measures to hack into household and electronic devices.
The government-sponsored research has sought various ways to penetrate Apple’s encrypted firmware that could allow access to hundreds of millions of customers using the company’s devices, including desktop and laptop computers.
The researchers say that they created a modified developer’s code, known as Xcode—used to create Apple apps—that could allow them to gather embedded passwords and other data and send them to a “listening post.”
Other products that were discussed at Jamboree conferences were Microsoft’s BitLocker encryption system that runs on computers using the Windows operating system.
The CIA and Apple did not respond to The Intercepts requests for comment. Apple however pointed to previous comments by CEO Tim Cook, who for years has spoken out loudly about privacy concerns and has criticized the actions of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Those agencies want to continue the government’s practice of bypassing security measures for wireless devices.