By Julian Hattem - 12/31/13 04:42 PM EST
Apple is denying that it worked with the National Security Agency (NSA) to give the agency a back door into its customers’ iPhones.
In a statement given to multiple outlets on Tuesday, the company said that it “has never worked” with the NSA to let it see into its phones and is “unaware” of a reported program targeting the device.
On Sunday, the German magazine Der Spiegel released documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showing that the spy agency can intercept nearly all forms of communication sent from an iPhone.
“Whenever we hear about attempts to undermine Apple’s industry-leading security, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate steps to protect our customers. We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them,” Apple said in a statement, according to multiple reports.
Information about the DROPOUTJEEP program was contained in a broader set of slides published by Der Spiegel that shed light on secret hacking teams employed by the NSA. Those teams have gained access to sensitive information about major corporations and world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to the report.
According to the slide about the program targeting iPhones, which dated from 2008, DROPOUTJEEP was a “software implant” for the phones that needed to be installed “via close access methods.” However, the slide also noted that “remote installation capability will be pursued for a future release.”
Privacy advocates have worried that the agency’s technology has only increased in recent years.
Another slide from the agency referred to iPhone owners as “zombies” who are “paying” for their surveillance.