The CIA has tried for several years to crack the security code protecting Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads from hackers, according to newly leaked documents published by the online news site of whistle-blower Edward Snowden on Tueasday
The documents, leaked by former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden and published Tuesday The Intercept, detail a nearly decade-long program to break into iPhones and iPads.
The campaign included secret annual conferences known as “Jamborees,” where attendees discussed various strategies to hack into the products.
Government officials apparently went so far as to build their own version of Xcode, Apple’s software development tool. By creating this, the CIA hoped to exploit software flaws in order to construct “backdoors” for government surveillance.
The earliest documents are dated 2006, showing the program began a year before Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs introduced the world to the first iPhone. The leaked information continues past the release of the first iPad in 2010.
The latest documents were from 2013. The Intercept did not disclose if the CIA was ultimately successful in its attempt to crack Apple’s security encryption.
The Intercept has unveiled several leaks from Snowden and counts Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, two of the three journalists to initially break Snowden’s NSA whistle-blowing, amongst its editors.
Neither the CIA nor Apple has commented on the leaked documents, although Apple pointed to statements made by CEO Tim Cook from 2014.
Potential government surveillance has been a major issue for American companies trying to sell products abroad, especially in Europe and China.