The latest big bad headline-grabbing hack targeted the cyber security company Symantec and claimed to reveal some pretty gnarly details about how the Indian government made special "back door" deals with Apple and Blackberry. But according to The Guardian's Charles Arthur, it's a canard.
It looks like a classic case of name-dropping Apple (less so Blackberry) in order to gain some media exposure. The emails from the Indian government obtained by hacking into Symantec's servers that name the iPhone maker are totally fake, says Symantec. As with all things hacker-related it's very difficult to separate fact from fiction, fake from real; this one does look pretty suspect, though. Arthur explains the shady bits:
Sources within the three companies and with the online security company Symantec have also pointed to inconsistencies and incorrect information in the documents, posted online, that suggests that they did not originate, as was claimed, from India's directorate general of military intelligence.
Furthermore, the letterhead on the memo comes from a military intelligence unit not involved in surveillance.
The fact that a hack happened is true. Symantec admitted as much in a Facebook post last week. Indeed, the Indian hacker crew that calls themselves the Lords of Dharmaraja broke into Symantec's servers and stolethough cyber security guru Bruce Schneier told The Atlantic Wire at the time, "Bad press is certainly Symantec's biggest worry right now." Embarrassment accomplished. Nothing like a good old Apple rumor to get the hacker-loving bloggers intrigued. It's much less intriguing when it's totally made up, though.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.