A huge trove of documents about CIA hacking, surveillance, and cyberespionage operations ha been posted on Wikileaks. This is just the first of a series of revelations, according to Wikileaks head Julian Assange.
Here we learn about how the CIA can use smart phones and even television sets to spy on people. Wikileaks says that various intelligence subcontractors have been circulating the code that gives access CIA’s “hacking arsenal” so that now other countries and independent hackers can use it. One such subcontractor leaked the material to Wikileaks.
Do you think this is related to the surveillance of the Trump administration and the leaks from the other side? Could this have anything to do with the Russians?
One of the revelations is that the CIA has the capability of launching hacking attacks and “misdirect attribution” so that they appear to be from someone else. Could the CIA itself be responsible for the alleged Russian hacks into the presidential campaign? But, if so, why would they be helping Trump then and hurting him now?
Is whoever leaked this stuff a traitor, betraying our country’s defensive capabilities and intelligence agency? Or is he a brave civil libertarian, exposing “the dark state’s” nefarious doings? Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? And what does it mean that it has become so difficult to tell the difference?
WikiLeaks has released thousands of files that it identifies as CIA documents related to the agency’s cyber-espionage tools and programs.
The documents published on Tuesday include instruction manuals, support documents, notes and conversations about, among other things, efforts to exploit vulnerabilities in smartphones and turn smart TVs into listening devices. . . .
WikiLeaks has dubbed Tuesday’s release “Year Zero,” saying it is the first of a series of CIA-related leaks that the site is collectively calling “Vault 7.”
In a statement accompanying the document release, WikiLeaks alleges that the CIA has recently “lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal,” and that an archive with “several hundred million lines of code” has been circling among former government hackers, giving them “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.”
One former government hacker or contractor gave a portion of that code to WikiLeaks, according to the organization. But the files included in WikiLeaks’ “Year Zero” release do not include the code itself — in its press release, the site says it is “avoiding the distribution of ‘armed’ cyberweapons until a consensus emerges” on how to analyze and disarm such weapons.
Instead, the purported CIA documents reference and describe agency tools designed to extract information from computers, monitor communications and control electronic devices.
See also this take, which considers the leaker a traitor for ruining billions of dollars worth of our cyber-warfare capability, which would be used mainly to stop terrorism. At the same time, the writer says that the CIA is itself to blame for not preventing the leaks.
Illustration by United States federal government (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/50/403m.html) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons