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article imageWikileaks releases more than 8,700 CIA cyber-espionage documents

By Ken Hanly     Mar 7, 2017 in Technology
Wikileaks has just released thousands of documents allegedly taken from the CIA Center for Cyber Intelligence that seems to expose details of U.S. cyberespionage program. The release contains more than 8,700 documents and files.
If the documents are authentic they could undermine confidence that consumers have in the security of their computers, mobile devices and smart TVs. Wikileaks claims the documents came fron "an isolated, high-security network situated in the CIA Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley Virginia". Wikileaks did not say how the files were removed.
The documents cover a host of technical topics including a discussion of how to compromise smart TVs and use them as a surveillance device. As Al Jazeera puts it the CIA can turn your TV into a listening device. It can also bypass popular encryption and may even be able to control your car. There are also details on how the agency sought to subvert U.S. software products and smartphones, which included the Apple iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft Windows.
The CIA would not comment on the information dump. Jonathan Liu, a CIA spokesperson said:"We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents." Wikileaks has a long record of releasing top secret government material. Experts who are beginning to search through the material said that the documents seemed legitimate and that the CIA would be upset by the leak. According to Wikileaks the archive "appears to have 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." If the documents turn out to be genuine they represent another massive breach of security for the U.S. intelligence community.
Jake Williams, a security expert with Rendition Infosec said: "There's no question that there's a fire drill going on right now. It wouldn't surprise me that there are people changing careers — and ending careers — as we speak." Williams, who has had experience dealing with government hackers said that the extensive reference to operation security meant that they involved the government, said: "I can't fathom anyone fabricated that amount of operational security concern. It rings true to me. The only people who are having that conversation are people who are engaging in nation-state-level hacking." The data also included digital espionage techniques used by other countries including Russia. Bob Ayers, retired U.S. Intelligence official noted that Wikileaks has promised that it would release more CIA documents. Ayers said: "The damage right now is relatively high level. The potential for really detailed damage will come in the following releases."
NSA whistleblower William Binney noted that in the past the NSA, FBI and CIA were used by then-president Nixon during the Watergate Scandal. He noted also that the FBI Counterintllelligence Program (COINTELPR) spied on the anti-war movement during the sixties and also targetted activists such as Martin Luther King. Binney claimed: "They’re trying to start a new Cold War. Why? Because for the military, industrial, intelligence and governmental complex that’s involved here that means trillions of dollars in spending from taxpayers. It means a lot more going into their budgets, a lot more programming and empire building in government. So I think we have a bunch of people in Congress and various places who cannot change."
A Guardian article suggests that the latest Wikileaks dump of the CIA hacking tools is looked at in Washington as another blow in the struggle between U.S. and Russian intelligence services with Wikileaks being on Russia's side. Trump has been a critic of the U.S. intelligence agencies. There are signs that the agencies are out to get Trump as suggested in a recent Digital Journal article. During the 2016 presidential campaign Wikileaks dumped nearly 2,000 emails that were damaging to Clinton. In January, U.S. intelligence agencies the CIA, NSA and FBI assessed with "high confidence" that Russian military intelligence stole the data and gave it to Wikileaks. However, Julian Asssange, Wikileaks' founder claims the leaks did not come from Russians. In the press release announcing the latest dump, Wikileaks suggests that the original source was a former U.S. government hacker or contractor. However, Wikileaks usually does not know the sources of its data.
The documents were released as "Vault 7 Part 1" and titled "Year Zero". The CIA is estimated to employ more than 5,000 people, and operated more than 1,000 programs in 2016. The documents contain information on CIA malware with titles such as "Assasin" and "Medusa" meant to target smart phones, TVs, and the main operating systems. Wikileaks claims that there is an entire CIA program devoted to hacking data from Apple products. Wikileaks claimed that some of the tools developed by the CIA could be used for such purposes as assassinations which would be almost impossible to detect. The dump is also covered in another recent Digital Journal article.
More about Wikileaks, CIA Center for Cyber Intelligence, CIA illegal surveillance
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