Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Thursday that it had uncovered a US National Security Agency (NSA) plot using previously unknown malware to penetrate specially made backdoor vulnerabilities in Apple phones.
The FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, said that several thousand Apple phones had been infected, including those of domestic Russian subscribers.
The Russian spy agency also said telephones belonging to foreign diplomats based in Russia and the former Soviet Union, including those from NATO members, Israel, Syria and China, had been targeted.
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“The FSB has uncovered an intelligence action of the American special services using Apple mobile devices,” the FSB said in a statement.
Neither Apple nor the NSA immediately responded to emailed requests for comment outside usual US business hours.
The FSB said the plot showed the close relationship between Apple and the National Security Agency, the US agency responsible for US cryptographic and communications intelligence and security.
“The company provides American intelligence agencies with a wide range of opportunities to monitor any persons of interest to the White House and their partners in anti-Russian activities, and their own citizens,” the FSB said.
Unusually, the FSB said the plot was uncovered with the help of the Federal Guards Service, the agency which protects Russia’s leaders.