NSA leaker Edward Snowden has teamed with hardware hacker Andrew Huang to design an iPhone security accessory. The attachment is meant to monitor signals sent to the antennas of an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s, which the pair say is more reliable than turning on Airplane Mode to prevent wireless snooping.
The prototype design of the attachment has the look of half a battery case with a small screen, but it's how the accessory actually works that makes it intriguing. From Wired:
…Tiny probe wires from that external device would snake into the iPhone's innards through its SIM-card slot to attach to test points on the phone's circuit board. (The SIM card itself would be moved to the case to offer that entry point.) Those wires would read the electrical signals to the two antennas in the phone that are used by its radios, including GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular modem. And by identifying the signals that transmit those different forms of radio information, the modified phone would warn you with alert messages or an audible alarm if its radios transmit anything when they're meant to be off.
Unfortunately for security-conscious iPhone owners that might be looking to get their hands on this, it's not yet available. The design is only being presented today at the MIT Media Lab. But it's an interesting solution for those concerned about potential wireless spying by the government. We'll certainly be watching to see if anything comes of this idea.