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German newspaper Spiegel has revealed that that the NSA has easy access to many major smartphone operating systems.
Top secret NSA documents that SPIEGEL has seen explicitly note that the NSA can tap into information on Apple iPhones, BlackBerry devices and Google’s Android mobile operating system.
This allows to agency to access contact lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information about where a user has been.
The document reveals that there was a period when Blackberry changed their compression system in 2009 when the NSA lost access to their data, but that this was restored in 2010, making nonsense of the idea that the operating system was “uncrackable”.
The documents reveal that the NSA has set up specific working groups to deal with each operating system, with the goal of gaining secret access to the data held on the phones. While Windows Phone is not specifically named, one can assume the agency has similar access to the mobile operating system as it has to any other.
The news is however still good news for Windows Phone, as it exposes how illusory the idea is that other mobile operating systems are more secure than Windows Phone – while some like Android is clearly much less secure, against a sophisticated and resourced attacker all operating systems are essentially equal.