WikiLeaks has published more than 8,000 CIA documents as part of "Vault 7", a series of leaks on the agency originating from the CIA's Center For Cyber Intelligence in Langley, VA.
After hinting for months about its forthcoming releases, Wikileaks has once again delivered, publishing its first batch of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The leaks, code-named “Vault 7”, is – according to Wikileaks – the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency, with just this first release comprising 8,761 documents. The documents are said to have originated from within the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence located in Langley, Virginia.
The first “Vault 7” release focuses on the CIA’s “global covert hacking program” which includes its “weaponized exploits” of common technology products such as “Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.” It has also been revealed that the CIA has the capability to bypass the encryption on applications such as WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide, and Cloackman by hacking the phones on which the applications are installed and collecting its message traffic before encryption is applied.
Apparently, the CIA recently lost control of these exploits and other tools in its hacking arsenal – including malware, viruses, and trojans – as they were circulated among U.S. government hackers and contractors in “an unauthorized manner.”
Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, said the following about the CIA’s hacking tools and its loss of control over them:
“There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of “Year Zero” goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective.”
Also of interest is the source of the leaks, who appears to be another Snowden-like figure. The source of the leaks told Wikileaks in a statement that he wished to “initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyber-weapons.” He also detailed “policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency.” Though the source of the “Vault 7” release still remains anonymous, it may not stay that way for long considering that the CIA is likely to be rather upset regarding Wikileaks’ latest release and the promise of more “Vault 7” releases in the coming weeks.
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