Wikileaks has revealed CIA secret documents that detail how it kept most-used phones, computers, TV sets, cars vulnerable to its spyware, bypassing all encoding.
WikiLeaks has started releasing a new series of leaks focused on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), saying this would be the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the CIA. The release of this information has been code named as “Vault-7.”
In the first part of the release, termed as “Year Zero,” there are 8,761 documents and files. WikiLeaks has said that these documents and files have been obtained from an isolated, high-security network from within CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence situated in Langley, Virginia.
The famous Bitcoin entrepreneur and enthusiast Kim Dotcom wrote regarding the Vault 7 revelations in his tweet:
“If you are taking paranoia meds because you think the government is watching you all the time you can stop taking those meds now.”
CIA has lost control over its hacking tech
In a startling expose WikiLeaks is claiming that the CIA has lost control over its hacking technology. In a press release dated March 7, 2017, they announced:
“Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former US government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.”
The documents are most likely genuine
The New York Times in an article pointed out that the leaked documents seem genuine. They write: “If the documents are authentic, as appeared likely at first review, the release would be the latest coup for the anti-secrecy organization and a serious blow to the C.I.A.”
The hacking of the CIA now raises serious questions about the safety and security of citizens around the world, and if indeed such spying technology was to reach private hands, what potential consequences it could have.
US, British spies worked together to compromise Samsung
In a detailed analysis of what has been compromised and how, WikiLeaks says that the CIA hacking tools have been built by the Engineering Development Group (EDG), which is a software development group within the Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), a department of Directorate for Digital Innovation (DDI) at the CIA.
There has been a concerted effort to compromise Samsung’s Smart TVs and the software for exploiting these devices was developed in cooperation with UK’s MI5/BTSS. This software is called “Weeping Angel.”
The TVs that are infested with Weeping Angel pretend to be turned off and can spy on their environments when in this “fake off” mode. WikiLeaks reveals that the CIA is also looking at infecting vehicle control systems that can be found in modern automobiles.
Google Android is not safe either and there are at least 24 “weaponized” Android “Zero days” which have been developed by the agency itself or taken from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.
The iPhone is a particular target of interest for the CIA. WikiLeaks in their analysis said:
“The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.”
Messaging apps, computers all compromised
There has been an increasing trend of late that messaging applications have turned to encryption to try to protect their user’s privacy. However, it seems that these efforts are largely futile. As WikiLeaks says:
“Techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the “smart” phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.”
None of the major operating systems like Windows, OSX, Linux or even routers are safe from CIA snooping. Apparently, the agency has developed “automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems.”
Hacking base in Germany
Apparently, the United States has a hacking base in its consulate in Frankfurt, Germany.
CIA hackers at the Frankfurt consulate are using diplomatic passports according to WikiLeaks. A detailed instruction set has been provided by WikiLeaks on how these hackers should behave in Germany and covers every little aspect from cashing checks to staying at hotels.
It even urges its hackers to enjoy booze, because it is free! They do not forget to take a dig at United Airlines as well: “Booze is free so enjoy (within reason)! Flying United: My condolences, but at least you are earning a United leg towards a status increase.” Holding the hand of their operatives further, the agency tries to instill confidence in them by saying:
“Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport.”