Someone takes a picture of an iPhone at an Apple Store. Photo/REUTERS/Thomas Peter
MOSCOW – Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says the CIA installed malware on thousands of Apple phones used by Russian citizens and foreign diplomats working in the country.
The FSB said on Thursday (1/6/2023) that a joint operation with the Federal Guard Service (FSO) had “uncovered a surveillance operation by American intelligence services, carried out using Apple mobile devices.”
“An assessment of Russia’s telecommunications infrastructure revealed anomalies in the operation of some iPhones, which were caused by a previously unknown malicious program that used software vulnerabilities provided by the manufacturer,” the FSB said in a statement.
Several thousand Apple-made phones were infected with the malware, according to the FSB.
“Not only Russian citizens were targeted, but also telephone numbers and foreign subscribers using SIM cards registered with diplomatic missions and embassies in Russia, including countries from the NATO bloc and post-Soviet countries, as well as Israel, Syria, and China,” said the FSB.
“This discovery is further evidence of the close cooperation between Apple and the US intelligence community,” the FSB claims.
The FSB added, “The stated policy of ensuring the privacy of Apple users’ personal data has nothing to do with reality.”
The FSB also accused Apple of “providing American intelligence services various opportunities to survey anyone with an interest in the White House, including their partners in anti-Russian activities, as well as their own citizens.”
In March, the Kommersant newspaper reported that members of the Russian presidential administration had been asked to throw away their iPhones.
According to the newspaper, the move was taken because of concerns that advanced cyber warfare tools, such as Israel’s Pegasus software, could hack Apple gadgets, even though manufacturers claim to have enhanced security features.