Russian Intelligence Baselessly Accuses Apple of Assisting the NSA in Breaching Officials’ iPhones

Daryna Antoniuk, the Record:

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is accusing U.S. intelligence of hacking “thousands of Apple phones” to spy on Russian diplomats.

According to FSB’s statement published on Thursday, the U.S. used previously unknown malware to target iOS devices.


Russian intelligence claims that the investigation revealed that Apple is collaborating with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).


Oleg Shakirov, an expert on foreign policy and security at the Center for Strategic Research, said that this type of accusation — which he referred to as “quasi-attribution” — is not unusual for Russian authorities.

Kaspersky discovered this malware. It has affected devices running versions up to iOS 15.7, and it has been seen in use as early as 2019.

The FSB, for its part, has shown no proof of Apple’s involvement — nor has Kaspersky made such an accusation — and Apple denied those claims in a statement to Reuters. Creating a loophole for law enforcement or intelligence purposes would deviate from its longstanding objections and be a blatant violation of users’ trust. Furthermore, the NSA does not need Apple’s help; there are plenty of spyware developers with which it would be happy to sign a contract. Finally, it is an accusation made by a government agency, and should be treated with at least the same level of skepticism of a similar claim made by any other spy agency.

This is a serious accusation, made without any proof, and should obviously be rejected until substantive evidence is shown.