WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks Exposes Purported CIA Cyberhacking Tools

3/7/17
from The Wall Street Journal,
3/7/17:

Records show agency able to spy on smartphones, internet TVs.

WikiLeaks released thousands of documents and files Tuesday that it said exposed tools the Central Intelligence Agency uses to hack smartphones, computer operating systems, messenger applications and internet-connected televisions. The unauthorized disclosure—the first part of which WikiLeaks said consisted of 8,761 documents and files from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence—confronts President Donald Trump with a threat from the very organization that leaked documents on his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 presidential campaign. WikiLeaks named the series of files “Vault 7” and called the unauthorized disclosure the “largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency,” saying it exposed the malware and exploits the agency amassed to hack smartphones and turn some televisions into covert microphones. A CIA spokesman declined to comment “on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents.”

An intelligence source said some of the information does pertain to tools that the CIA uses to hack computers and other devices. This person said disclosing the information would jeopardize ongoing intelligence-gathering operations and the revelations were far more significant than the leaks of Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency who exposed active surveillance programs in 2013. Mr. Snowden’s leaks revealed names of programs, companies that assist the NSA in surveillance and in some cases the targets of American spying. But the recent leak purports to contain highly technical details about how surveillance is carried out. That would make them far more revealing and useful to an adversary, this person said.

WikiLeaks said in its statement that it was not publishing such information as computer source code that could be used to replicate the tools it claims to have exposed. But the group left open the possibility of publishing those crucial details if “a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should [sic] analyzed, disarmed and published.” Mr. Snowden said in a tweet Tuesday, “Still working through the publication, but what @Wikileaks has here is genuinely a big deal. Looks authentic.”

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