WikiLeaks Dump Claims No Messaging App Is Safe From Spying

WikiLeaks Dump Claims No Messaging App Is Safe From Spying

If it did prove legitimate, the dump would represent yet another catastrophic breach for the US intelligence community at the hands of WikiLeaks and its allies, which have repeatedly humbled Washington with the mass release of classified material, including hundreds of thousands of documents from the State Department and the Pentagon. One of the CIA's programs can turn smart TVs into "covert microphones" for spying, Wikileaks says. Those hacks are alleged to have let the Central Intelligence Agency read messages on WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, as well as on Chinese messaging company Weibo and other chat services.

The CIA would really like to know how its documents ended up on Wikileaks.

The 8,761 document dump has been published as part of its "Year Zero" campaign, and is just the first part in a series of leaks on the agency that Wikileaks has dubbed "Vault 7".

The CIA had allegedly discovered "Zero Day" vulnerabilities on iOS devices, but did not notify Apple, so it could continue exploiting these security holes to break into devices, according to the documents. The documents, which have reached the organization' website under the category name Vault 7, are said to include over 7,000 files and yet, Wikileaks has promised more soon.

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WikiLeaks claimed the documents include details of the CIA's global covert hacking programme, and dozens of "weaponised exploits" against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows and Samsung TVs, which are turned into "covert microphones".

The arsenal "gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA", Wikileaks wrote. After the hack is implemented, the tool can place the target TV into a "fake-off" mode that would make the user believe that the TV is turned off.

By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware.

The alleged documents indicate that the CIA worked in partnership with other agencies, including overseas organisations, to bypass the encryption on apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.

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"In the documents, they (the CIA) mention specific code snippets used in operational tools", Williams said.

It was not immediately clear if the CIA had sent a crimes report to the Justice Department - a formal mechanism alerting law enforcement agencies of a potentially damaging and illegal national security leak.

WikiLeaks also said that the CIA's mobile devices branch developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular iPhone and Android smartphones.

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