WikiLeaks Releases Alleged Documents on CIA Hacking
WikiLeaks released thousands of documents that it said described the sophisticated software tools the Central Intelligence Agency uses to break into smartphones, computers and even internet-connected televisions, on Tuesday March 7.
The documents, which have not been confirmed as authentic to the CIA, include 7,818 web pages with 942 attachments, WikiLeaks said. The group has named the collection of released documents, “Vault 7.”
The source of the documents was not named, although it did say that Vault 7 had been “circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.”
The documents are dated from 2013 to 2016 and WikiLeaks has described them as “the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.”
On Tuesday, a former intelligence officer who reviewed the documents said some of the code names for CIA programs, an organization chart and the description of a CIA hacking base seemed to be genuine.
Information released in these documents hint that CIA agents and allied intelligence services have been able to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram.
In addition to the encryption hack, the documents also talk of a program code-named, “Weeping Angel” which uses a Samsung smart TV as covert listening devices. According to the WikiLeaks documents, even when the TV appears to be turned off, it is still on and listening to the conversations around it to send to CIA servers. The release said this program was created in cooperation with British intelligence.
Another program detailed in the documents is Umbrage, a voluminous library of cyberattack techniques that the CIA has collected from malware produced by other countries. Based on the leaked documents, CIA agents are able to mask the origin of some of its cyberattacks and confuse forensic investigators.
If proven to be authentic, the Vault 7 archive will fall into the same category as the biggest leaks of classified information in recent years, including the quarter million diplomatic cables taken by Chelsea Manning, the former Amry intelligence anyalyst and given to WikiLeaks in 2010, and the hundreds of thousands of documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and given to journalists in 2013.