Snowden Leak Reveals Presence of “Spying Smurf”

Edward SnowdenPhoto by AK Rockefeller

I can’t be alone in wishing that Edward Snowden’s thousands of documents be released at once. I’ll leave the patriot/traitor argument to others but I don’t think he should be allowed to sit in Russia and simply release new information at a whim. It’s more power than a traditional “whistle-blower” should grow accustomed to.

Paranoid much?

No matter your personal feelings on his “crimes,” I can’t be alone in feeling that he shouldn’t be able to affect a news day on a whim, much less stock markets and the relationships between nations.

Yesterday, presumably to mess with The State of The Union Speech (Tough to mess with the actual state of the union), Snowden released a slide from a 2010 presentation that opened a window into the minds and capabilities of the NSA’s British counterpart the GCHQ when it comes to your iPhone.

Angry Birds, Twitter, and Google Maps apparently share a lot of your data with the help of those blue Saturday morning mainstays, the Smurfs.

Well, not too much information. Just your name, age, sex, and location.

I’m talking about the “Warrior Pride” spy kit which gave/gives both organizations a working glimpse into your life if you’re lucky enough to be compromised.

Snowden: Warrior Pride and The Smurfs

Warrior Pride was constructed with a number of plugins named after smurf characters in order to further play with you. Using these plugins, agents can control various aspects of your phone.

First, there is “Dreamy Smurf” which allows your (seemingly) powered down iPhone to be activated. My favorite, “Nosey Smurf,” allows agents to turn the iPhone’s microphone into a live mic without your knowledge.

“Tracker Smurf” as you might guess provides highly precise location data while “Paranoid Smurf” keeps the other Smurfs at bay. The latter is, I’m guessing, only used by the NSA to avoid the GCHQ and vice versa.

The final plugin — named “Porus”¬†provides “kernel stealth” capabilities making the spyware so embedded that it becomes part of the rootkit and will reinstall itself when you “wipe” your phone.

“If its [sic] on the phone, we can get it,” the slide reads. Meaning the entire contents of your phone are accessible to both agencies.

It’s not paranoia, if indeed, everybody is in fact out to get you.

They are.



About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com