WikiLeaks, known for exposing secret documents just released one of the biggest leaks. According to the leaked documents, the CIA along with foreign intelligence agencies have been trying to include many electronic devices into surveillance weapons. WikiLeaks alleged that the US’ premier spy agency has collected data from smartphones and televisions. It is the biggest confidential document publication by WikiLeaks. The leak has been codenamed ‘Vault 7’
According to reports, the Part 1 was obtained recently and covers through 2016. WikiLeaks, in a statement, said, the first full part of the series, ‘Year Zero’, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.
While there might be doubts about the authenticity of the documents released, many security experts have reportedly found it to be authentic. They have cited the codewords which are used to describe CIA hacking programs. Meanwhile, according to WikiLeaks, it had discovered a project known as Weeping Angel where intelligence agencies in UK and US developed ways to take over Samsung smart TVs equipped with microphones. They allegedly forced them to record conversations even when the device was turned off. There is nothing new in the revelations since it has been a known fact that intelligence agencies find flaws in technology products in order to conduct espionage. This revelation follows an introductory disclosure in February, which was about CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential elections.
The documents also suggest that CIA got information through applications in Android and iOS smartphones. They did so only after they had full control of these phones. Even the Apple iPhones are not safe since US intelligence agencies allegedly bought security flaws. As a general user, there is not much to worry about being targetted. Yet it is crucial to keep your devices, like computers and smartphones updated with security features. WikiLeaks had reportedly said, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponised “zero days” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation.
The last time something similar happened was when NSA contractor Edward Snowden had revealed that the agency was secretly collecting call metadata from US citizens. This time, though, the leaks reveal details on how security agencies leverage flaws to conduct espionage. WikiLeaks also alleged that as of October 2014, the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks.
(with agency inputs)