Fighting Leakers at Apple

Apple is fighting its own battle against leakers, using people and tactics from the NSA.

According to the hour-long presentation, Apple’s Global Security team employs an undisclosed number of investigators around the world to prevent information from reaching competitors, counterfeiters, and the press, as well as hunt down the source when leaks do occur. Some of these investigators have previously worked at U.S. intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), law enforcement agencies like the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service, and in the U.S. military.

The information is from an internal briefing, which was leaked.

Posted on June 27, 2017 at 6:25 AM13 Comments


Mailman June 27, 2017 7:07 AM

“The information is from an internal briefing, which was leaked.”

You enjoyed typing that sentence, didn’t you?

Mike June 27, 2017 8:25 AM

“…sheds new light on how far the most valuable company in the world will go to prevent leaks about new products.”

What new products? Don’t they just release the same old crap but with less ports?

Big Brother June 27, 2017 9:51 AM

Big Brother is alive and well in businesses- Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, etc., but at least Apple may have a relatively good privacy policy.

From the article above:

“In aggregate, we do about 221 million transits a year. For comparison, 223 million is the top level volume for the top 25 theme parks in the world,” Rice says. “So this is just one big theme park. People coming in, coming out, there’s billions of parts flying around at any given instance. So you marry up a bunch of parts moving around plus a lot of people moving around and it’s no wonder that we don’t leak even more.”


“We deal with very talented adversaries,” he says. “They’re very creative and so as good as we get on our security controls, they get just as clever.”

As a user of Apple products, aside from Intellectual Property issues, it may good for Apple to have good security controls to try to keep the likes of: the USG, Russia, China, Israel, etc., out of our pockets as much as reasonably possible. It seems that backdoored hardware and software is a dime a dozen; sometimes using secret laws, secret rulings, national security letters, spooks, volunteers, blackmail, and the like.

George Orwell’s 1984 is currently broadcasting for about twelve more hours on Pacifica radio’s FM stations. Berkeley Los Angeles Washington DC New York City Houston

Chris Zweber June 27, 2017 9:53 AM

Imagine how people in a corporate setting would change their web browsing habits if they knew there was someone dedicated to randomly auditing web browsing.

Hiring someone like this and publicizing it internally would probably be the biggest productivity boon ever.

It is also funny to me how corporate jobs you can be on your phone all day and no one cares. Way more lax than way lower paid jobs in say the service industry.

This is probably very effective at scaring potential leakers even if it doesn’t blanket prevent it.

lazy June 27, 2017 10:10 AM

So people from NSA, which was the victim of one of the greatest leaks of the century is helping Apple fight leaks. That is ironic.

albert June 27, 2017 10:40 AM

“…Some of these investigators have previously worked at U.S. intelligence agencies…”

Really? Is this statement designed to scare folks? Because that’s how I see it.

I guess I’ll have to check Apples employee records against the OPM data…*

Irony and comedy. A winning combination.

*for total idiots only: this is a joke.
. .. . .. — ….

Johnny Walker June 27, 2017 10:42 AM

@ lazy

So people from NSA, which was the victim of one of the greatest leaks of the century is helping Apple fight leaks. That is ironic.

NO. That’s the NSA/DOD/CIA/DHS/TSA infiltrating Apple.

fiero June 27, 2017 12:51 PM

What new products? Don’t they just release the same old crap but with less ports?

Pretty much something like that. Not to forget that those are proprietary ports. So that you need to buy an Apple cable to interface it with anything else.

Of course their fan club gets all exited about the new version regardless of how much it resembles the old version.

neill June 27, 2017 12:52 PM

the other side of the story is that aapl is ‘spying’ on every other company … fineprint says ‘we are collecting data to improve the product’

thru BYOD policies aapl has devices everywhere

neill June 27, 2017 12:56 PM


“we have now drag & drop!”

federighi got applause for that at WWDC

besides admitting beta-testing the new filesystem on 100M+ devices

Dave June 27, 2017 9:20 PM

@Chris Zweber: Wouldn’t make much difference, they’re there to deal with leaks, not be the morals police. And specifically they’re only there to deal with leaks, they can’t let themselves get distracted, and therefore not do their job properly any more, policing all manner of other stuff. I know people who’ve run warez and porn sites at… sensitive establishments who got off with a “don’t do that again”, and that was because of the uncontrolled traffic into the site, not what the traffic was.

Nick P June 27, 2017 10:31 PM

This is a company that uses its patents and lawyers to block as much competition as possible. It’s used a combination of innovation, incremental development, and blocking competition to get to sitting on the largest fortune I’ve seen in modern times. That’s executives living the high life pushing workers to produce that. The company then wonders why Chinese workers aren’t satisfied with $350 a month in the conditions they work in. Why they try to do some business on the side that’s high-margin and secretive. I think it’s the pot calling the kettle black.

The funniest thing is how Bill Gates inspired all this with Apple seeming to keep it up in perpetuity. I keep telling people to watch the corny, budget movie called Pirates of Silicon Valley since it’s only one Wozniak said was accurate about characters (esp Jobs). Jobs is a psychopath trying to create a vision and bankroll out of ruthlessly exploiting his workers to perfect a tech he got from some top innovators (Xerox PARC). Bill is a psychopath whose poker face helps him rob Jobs then call him on his hypocrisy. Here’s those two scenes:

Steve meeting Bill showing his cult off

Jobs finds out Bill stole his stuff & beat him to market

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