Edward Snowden recently unveiled that he is working with a known hardware hacker to develop an iPhone case. Unlike most cases that promise to be able to protect your device from physical damages caused by falling, the one by Edward Snowden is something more sophisticated – it is able to protect your phone from hackers.
The case is being developed with Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, a known hacker. When connected to an iPhone, it is able to detect if other parties are trying to spy on the device then notifies the owner. The case connects to an iPhone’s standard SIM card port, and you have to put your SIM card into the case itself. This method is said to be more reliable than using Airplane Mode on an airplane, which is supposed to disable the device’s radios.
Image of the FE1, FE2 bus probe experiment. Test points from the back side of the PCB are wired to the top side for easy probing (via: PubPub)
The case will monitor electrical signals in the iPhone. If it detects any odd activities, it will send alert messages, and even trigger an alarm. On top of preventing snooping, the case also doubles as a “kill switch” button that will disconnect the power to the phone in case it’s been hacked.
Sadly though, if you were hoping to get your hands on the case, don’t expect it to come to the market anytime soon. The case is a work in progress that was demonstrated to the MIT Media Lab recently over a live stream. Edward Snowden hopes to offer the accessory to journalists and newsrooms when it’s complete to help protect them especially when they are covering news in conflict zones.
For those who are interested to see how it works, you can check out the full documentation published on PubPub.