Apple And Google Intentionally 'Implement Backdoors' For Anybody To Exploit

Pavel Durov
Founder of VKontakte and Telegram messenger

For more than several times if not plenty, technology and internet businesses have been tied to political campaigns and some government affairs.

Because of various reasons, almost everyone owns a piece of technological device, whether it's a PC, a laptop, or a tablet, or a smartphone.

In the modern era of information and technology, things have been digitized for convenience. However, the ecosystem is only controlled by a handful of companies.

And in the mobile industry, the companies that control the sphere, are Apple and Google.

Pavel Durov is the founder and the boss at Telegram, the popular privacy-focused messaging app. After taking aim at Apple, accusing it for lacking "meaningful innovation" and its "totalitarian approach, Durov again has some more things to say.

Following reports about journalists who managed to find out that secret services of a number of countries were monitoring politicians and influential people using the spyware of the Israeli company NSO, Durov said that both Apple and Google are already "part of the global surveillance program" in the first place.

Pavel Durov
Pavel Durov when visiting Indonesia in 2017.
"The phones of 50,000 individuals, including human rights activists and journalists, have been targeted by surveillance tools that were used by numerous governments. These tools can hack any iOS and Android phone, and there is no way to protect your device from it. It doesn't matter which apps you use, because the system is breached on a deeper level."

"According to the Snowden revelations from 2013, both Apple and Google are part of the global surveillance program that implies that these companies have to, among other things, implement backdoors into their mobile operating systems. These backdoors, usually disguised as security bugs, allow US agencies to access information on any smartphone in the world."

"The problem with such backdoors is that they are never exclusive to just one party. Anybody can exploit them. So if a US security agency can hack an iOS or Android phone, any other organization that uncovers these backdoors can do the same. Unsurprisingly, this is exactly what has been taking place: an Israeli company called NSO Group has been selling access to the spying tools that allowed third parties to hack tens of thousands of phones."

Durov added that at least since 2018, he has been aware that one of his phone numbers was "included in a list of potential targets of such surveillance tools."

He was not worry though.

Part of which, is because Durov has already got used to assuming that all of his phones were compromised. After all, he was already in Russia's crosshair when he created VKontakte.

But what worries him is that, the surveillance tools are also used against individuals far more prominent than him.

For example, tools from the NSO Group can be used to spy on heads of states and other country leaders.

And among the reasons why the tools can hack into phones, is because most phones are either powered by Apple's iOS or Google's Android.

NSO Group and other spy tools can hack on those mobile operating systems, because of the existence of backdoors, which Durov thinks is intentional.

"The existence of backdoors in crucial infrastructure and software creates a huge challenge for humanity. That's why I have been calling upon the governments of the world to start acting against the Apple-Google duopoly in the smartphone market and to force them to open their closed ecosystems and allow for more competition."

Unfortunately, dealing with this kind of problem can be very slow.

Both Apple and Google have laid out powerful foundations to maintain their duopoly, in which their influence in the market, even when it violates privacy, cannot be trifled with.

"I hope the news that they themselves have been targeted by these surveillance tools will prompt politicians to change their minds," Durov ended.

Durov has thought about this because the most prominent, which is the NSO Group, has been operating since 2011, selling its surveillance tools, meaning that both iOS and Android fertile ground for hacking smartphones.