As if the last few months haven’t been bad enough for the U.S. intelligence services, Wikileaks yesterday released 8,761 documents proving that The CIA is hacking your Android and iPhones, Windows and Linux computers and even Samsung TVs… and if that doesn’t make you angry enough to begin a Million Nerd March, think of it like this – THEY’RE ALSO HACKING YOUR MOM!
Sound like a great Mr Robot season 3 episode in the making. Who’s going to play Julian Assange?
In what sounds like a Batman origin story, the whistleblowing organization are calling the leak ‘Year Zero’, the first of several promised leaks that Julian Assange’s whistleblower organization has dubbed ‘Vault 7.’ WikiLeaks tweeted the leak, which it claims came from a high-security source inside the CIA Headquarters’ Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.
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. The Agency is, no doubt, losing their shit sweeping the nation to find the source…
You can read the leak in its entirety here but here are the Top Five revelations from the leak:
WikiLeaks said that ‘Year Zero’ revealed details of the CIA’s “global covert hacking program” including “weaponized exploits” of iPhones, Android and computers running Windows, MacOS and Linux. The documents state the CIA has a whole department who specialize in hacking into Apple products.
Named after demonic creatures from Doctor Who, Weeping Angel is a project that targets Samsung TVs. When in a fake-standby mode (the owner thinks their cathode-ray nipple (or television) is off, when it has been remotely turned on by the CIA) the set is turned into a covert microphone and security experts in Langley listen in as you discuss with your wife who’s wearing the suicide vest to Bob and Arlene Miller’s Ruby Anniversary next month.
Funnily enough, that’s the second Doctor Who shout-out today. The longest running ever TV show’s scariest creatures inhabit statues of angels. When you look away or even blink, they move closer until they kill you. Someone at The Agency must be a fan.
Think your late-night Whatsapp, Signal, Confide and Telegram messages are encrypted?
Well, they are, until the CIA want to read them! The companies involved have explained that it’s not their apps which are at fault, if the O.S. is accessible, then messages can be read directly from the device before they were encrypted. Though, this Wired article suggests otherwise.
Death by Smartcar
Self-driving cars were once limited to the realms of science-fiction, blueprints always looked like something out of Tron but the reality fell short. Either way, self-driving cars are a certainty in the coming decades… and the Wikileak reports CIA explored the idea of hacking into cars and crashing them. “The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations,” WikiLeaks notes and, while this is complete speculation on their part, it does seem pretty plausible.
Non-disclosure of vulnerabilities
WikiLeaks states the whistleblower handed over nearly 9,000 documents to “provoke a debate about the power of intelligence agencies and how their information should be exposed.” Key to this claim is the suggestion that – rather than handing exploits over to the companies that could fix them (thus making users safe, as they had promised to do) The CIA was keeping the backdoor exploits it had found to itself.
“Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability,” a WikiLeaks statement read. “If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others” including hackers from other countries or governments and (presumably) terrorists from Fox’s new 24 series.
Wikileaks has promised more CIA leaks, and that, when taken together, those Vault 7 leaks will make up “the biggest intelligence publication in history” including this one and this one, WikiLeaks claimed.
Watch this space.
The CIA are!