Published: Wed, March 08, 2017
Technology | By Timothy Carter

WikiLeaks releases documents it says show Central Intelligence Agency hacking methods

WikiLeaks releases documents it says show Central Intelligence Agency hacking methods

WikiLeaks said that by the end of past year, the CIA's own hacking division, the Center for Cyber Intelligence, had more than 5,000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems. The alleged leaks are a reminder of how important, yet hard, data protection is for intelligence agencies, added the former official, who said there appeared to be a crisis in operational security over maintaining confidentiality.

The U.S. government has said that WikiLeaks is a tool of Russian intelligence agencies.

On its website, Wikileaks says: "Sources trust Wikileaks to not reveal information that might help identify them".

The Central Intelligence Agency has maintained a wide range of exploits to hack into smartphones and other connected devices, according to a trove of almost 9,000 government documents released by WikiLeaks Tuesday.

"The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorised manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive". The key distinction means that the strength of the messaging apps themselves is not the issue at hand, but rather the vulnerability of the operating systems, including Apple's iOS and Google's Android, which power almost every connected device we rely on.

Though the government's ability to use of people's squawk boxes to listen to their chatter shocked many on Tuesday, Samsung itself had also previously warned about smart TVs microphones.

The CIA also designs attacks against Internet infrastructure and webservers, according to the documents.

WikiLeaks said the CIA and other intelligence services bypassed encryption on the phones and messaging services, including Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram.

In a statement, WikiLeaks said the Central Intelligence Agency "lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal". The WikiLeaks statement alleged that the intelligence agency has a specific unit that uses malware to "infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads".

The Weeping Angel attack attempts to place the target TV in a "fake-off" mode to trick the owner into believing the devices is off when it is on.

According to WikiLeaks, Tuesday's release was the first in a series of document dumps that would reveal the CIA's "entire hacking capacity".

WikiLeaks did not release the computer code for useable cyberweapons "until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such "weapons" should be analyzed, disarmed and published".

WikiLeaks said the material came from "an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia".

Not only Windows, macOS, Linux, and Samsung TVs, the agency was also looking to infect the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks.

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