Bugged Devices & Covert Codes: WikiLeaks Uncovers CIA Hacking Secrets

WikiLeaks publishes 'entire hacking capacity of the CIA'

Saul Loeb AFP

"The technology built into today's iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we're constantly working to keep it that way", Apple said in a statement released to news outlets Tuesday evening. Users concerned about the security of their devices need to make sure they're updating to the latest software to get all of the security patches.

"While our initial analysis indicates that numerous issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities", Apple said.

Reports state that these Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools have targeted iPhones, Android systems on personal phones like the one still used by the US President Donald Trump, popular Microsoft software, and Samsung smart TVs and have transformed these gadgets into microphones, according to WikiLeaks.

The first part of the series of files, which has been named Vault 7, consisted of 8,761 documents and files acquired from an isolated and highly secure network located in the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Virginia. The organisation explicitly targeted the devices running on Apple's iOS given its popularity in political and elite class. Devices running on Google's Android faced a similar number of attacks and include devices by Samsung, HTC and Sony, given that 85% of the world's smartphones run on it.

In a live-streamed press conference, Assange said WikiLeaks will give tech companies exclusive early access to the next leaks to help them develop "fixes" for products the American government is allegedly monitoring.

The U.S. intelligence community is scrambling to find the source of the massive leak of classified CIA documents, which lay out, in detail, the tools the agency uses to conduct covert monitoring of electronic devices - everything from iPhones to smart televisions. In spite of Wikileaks' claims, it is only a small fraction of the CIA's total arsenal.

The group said plenty of stories exist in the archive and encouraged reporters to mine the data and publish findings.

Likewise, the Linux Foundation has yet to publicly react to claims the agency had created "attack and control systems" that could hijack computers powered by Linux-based software. It doesn't, however, detail how the agency has been using these or whom they've been used on. However, it's not exactly a surprise that these devices are able to be hacked, said Engin Kirda, professor of computer science at Northeastern University.

The trove, if legitimate, discloses malware, viruses and security vulnerabilities known as "zero days". "The only people who are having that conversation are people who are engaging in nation-state-level hacking". "In fact, previous work had shown that exploitation and infection of Samsung TVs was possible". Wikileaks published confidential documents on all those programs.

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