Apple reportedly utilized a double agent who supplied information about leakers and the jailbreak community, and was personally involved in exposing classified information about upcoming products. When it comes to leaks, Apple has had to tolerate a few widely publicized incidents, with the most well-known being the prototype iPhone 4 leak saga from 2010 in which a journalist’s house was reportedly raided and assets confiscated. Despite its notoriously secretive ways when it comes to product development, Apple has failed to put a lid on unannounced details making their way online.
If anything, the intensity of leaks has only increased over the past few years. Take the upcoming iPhone 13 series as an example. Dummy units are already out in the wild and a lot of product details, such as the design and camera hardware, are public knowledge. Over the past few months, renders of products including the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7, as well as MacBook Pro refresh key details, have also been leaked from sources with a good track record. Of course, leaks are damaging to the company’s reputation and rob the surprise elements prior to a new product’s debut.
Besides taking harsh measures like sending legal notices to leakers and sellers of prototype Apple hardware, the company worked with a mole in the leaker and jailbreak community to serve as a double agent, as per a bombshell Vice report. Andrey Shumeyko, the self-proclaimed undercover agent, has now shared the story of secretly serving as an informant for Apple by leveraging a good reputation in a community where internal Apple documents are shared, prototype devices exchange hands, and sensitive product information is divulged.
Shumeyko claims to have been in touch with an unnamed employee from Apple’s Global Security team, which reportedly employs former US intelligence officials and FBI operatives to clamp down on leaks and leakers. While masquerading as a trusted member of the leak and jailbreaking community that’s still flourishing in 2021, the Apple ‘double agent’ shared information about people engaged in the trade of prototype devices that are usually stolen from Apple’s manufacturing chain in China. Moreover, Shumeyko also divulged details of Apple employees who leaked sensitive information (one of whom was actually fired) and journalists in contact with leakers and sellers — essentially the whole trove of knowledge that Apple needed to control the torrent of leaks and classified information. However, Shumeyko also says he was wronged by Apple as the company didn’t pay for all that valuable information, eventually and abruptly cutting ties.
The informant, who claims to have been going through financial difficulties, resorted to selling some confidential information and later informed an Apple contact about it. Shumeyko, who also shared verified details of conversations with the unnamed Apple contact, even helped Apple zero in on the person behind the sale of a prototype device that eventually led to a massive leak involving an unreleased iOS 14 build. The ‘double agent’ claims that the attempt to help Apple was a redemption bid after having been involved in the same kind of questionable actions that Shumeyko eventually started reporting to Apple. However, Apple’s double agent now appears to be regretting the decision to help the company after having put a good reputation in jeopardy, and after feeling taken advantage of.