Anything made by humans can have flaws, including software. Folks might want to keep that in mind when acquiring computerized devices with cameras or microphones. As far as we know right now, the software is secure, and we hope it is.
While the soldering took hours and left behind physical evidence—it would be hard to miss the wires sticking out everywhere—Barnes says that with a bit more development, the pads could just as easily be accessed with a purpose-built device that uses pins to connect to them directly and more cleanly achieves the same effect in minutes.
…in other words, pogo pins.
It’s not unusual to have specialized connections for manufacturing purposes (JTAG for example), necessary for example for writing the boot ROM, but it’s a bit unusual to route these sorts of connections to the exterior. Usually it’s pads or pins on the main circuit board, and the case must be removed for access (implying that any such programming occurs before putting the guts inside the case).