Industry News

Chinese Digital Spies Snoop on Apple’s Latest iPhone Designs, Obama Claims

Surprising details emerged after last week’s meeting between US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on the topic of cyber-warfare. Even though most of the meeting topics were kept under wraps, much of the discussions focused on North Korea and cyber-security.

According to a news report by AFP, President Obama incidentally mentioned that every country is gathering intelligence about the military and diplomatic operations of rival states, but there is a clear-cut distinction between information gathering and government-supported groups of hackers engaging in industrial espionage.

“There’s a big difference between that and a hacker directly connected with the Chinese government or the Chinese military breaking into Apple’s software systems to see if they can obtain the designs for the latest Apple product. That’s theft. And we can’t tolerate that,” said the US president in an interview.

On the other side, the Chinese insisted they have also been a victim of cyber theft.

“I don’t think you ever expect a Chinese leader to say, ‘You know what, you’re right, you’ve caught us red-handed. We’re stealing all your stuff, and every day we figure out how we can get into Apple,” Obama said.

Apple has had a rough time defending its intellectual property from Chinese vendors, and some incidents have ended up in massive scandals. In the 2008 CeBIT edition, Chinese vendor Meizu’s booth was raided and shut down by German police following accusations that they were copying the design of the freshly-introduced iPhone in their M8 Mini One model.

About the author


A blend of teacher and technical journalist with a pinch of e-threat analysis, Loredana Botezatu writes mostly about malware and spam. She believes that most errors happen between the keyboard and the chair. Loredana has been writing about the IT world and e-security for well over five years and has made a personal goal out of educating computer users about the ins and outs of the cybercrime ecosystem.

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