A leaked document believed to have come from a manufacturer of surveillance equipment shows Apple iOS is more resistant to the company’s spyware than other mobile operating systems on the market.
The document appears to come from the Gamma Group International, a manufacturer of surveillance and monitoring systems with offices in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The document specifically deals with a piece of spyware called FinSpy Mobile 4.5.1, and lists the capabilities the software has and what it can do on different devices.
According to the document – which is dated April 4 – FinSpy requires an untethered jailbreak on iOS in order to work. No such requirement exists for BlackBerry or devices running Google Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile. As of the publication of the document, FinSpy Mobile did not support Windows Phone.
The document is part of a large swath of data released earlier this month. Last week, a Reddit user going by the name ‘PhineasFisher’ claimed to have stolen 40 GB of data from Gamma Group International’s network.
“Two years ago their software was found being widely used by governments in the middle east, especially Bahrain, to hack and spy on the computers and phones of journalists and dissidents,” the user wrote. “Gamma Group (the company that makes FinFisher) denied having anything to do with it, saying they only sell their hacking tools to ‘good’ governments, and those authoritarian regimes most have stolen a copy.”
“And that’s the end of the story until a couple days ago when I hacked in and made off with 40GB of data from Gamma’s networks,” the user continued. “I have hard proof they knew they were selling (and still are) to people using their software to attack Bahraini activists, along with a whole lot of other stuff in that 40GB.”
The FinSpy document states that “FinSpy Mobile is designed to help Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies to remotely monitor mobile phones and tablet devices” and can among other things get full access to calls, SMS messages, address book information and make silent calls to remotely listen to the microphone. It can also trace devices and monitor locations.
The document also lists technical limitations of the software on different devices as well as issues the company plans to address in a future release.