Apple denies iPhones have "backdoor" allowing governments to access private data

Billy Ehrenberg
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Apple denied that it had ever worked with government agencies to "create a backdoor in any of our products or services." (Source: Getty)

Apple has denied claims by a hacker that it built a backdoor into its iOS devices such as iPhones that lets the company or any interested government access information on devices.

Jonathan Zdziarski, who also goes by the hacker alias NerveGas, said that the backdoor was not able to be deactivated and could be accessed without the user's permission or knowledge, a claim which Apple refutes.

Zdziarski claimed that while Apple had, to its credit, made iOS more secure against security breaches, this security did not extend to Apple itself or to government departments such as the NSA.

In a slide he showed during a presentation at the Hackers On Planet Earth conference on Friday, Zdziarski claimed that Apple:

Apple security called into question

Apple responded saying that the backdoor provided "necessary information to enterprise IT departments, developers and Apple."
We have designed iOS so that its diagnostic functions do not compromise user privacy and security, but still provides needed information to enterprise IT departments, developers and Apple for troubleshooting technical issues," Apple told iMore. "A user must have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer before that computer is able to access this limited diagnostic data. The user must agree to share this information, and data is never transferred without their consent.

As we have said before, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services.

Apple also put a page up on its website, explaining how the diagnostics system worked. Despite claims to the contrary, the statement says that any information shared between computer and iOS device was encrypted and not shared with Apple.

The allegations come at a time of heightened sensitivity around the security of personal data, especially as the US National Security Agency was revealed to have "full access" to iPhones using specialised software.

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