Everything We Know About WikiLeaks ‘Vault 7’ That Claims The CIA Uses Phones And TVs To Spy
WikiLeaks has released thousands of documents regarding the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which they describe as “the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.” The leaks, which you can see here, are code-named “Vault 7” and part one of the series is titled “Year Zero.” They are said to expose the scope of the CIA’s global covert hacking program.
Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, stated that the extent of U.S. cyberespionage was an unchecked technology that posed a danger to the world.
“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.”
The first part consists of 8,761 documents and files from an “isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina.” The data trove was said to have been “circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors,” and one of whom “recently” gave the archive to WikiLeaks.
“As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in ‘Year Zero’ is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts,” the WikiLeaks release stated. The malware had names such as “Assassin” and “Medusa.”
Vault 7 states that the CIA can effectively bypass Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp, and Confide encryption.
One document shows the CIA was trying to “infect” vehicle control systems in cars and trucks, which the release said, “It would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.”
Another potential revelation details the CIA’s hacking program that utilized “weaponized” viruses. The malware was able to infiltrate Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which then transformed the devices into covert spy equipment by turning on their microphones.
A supposed disclosure states that the CIA targeted French political parties and candidates during France’s 2012 presidential election.
WikiLeaks claims that the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a hacking base, and also provided the methods that agents can use to get passed customs officers to gain entry to Germany.
One of the more intriguing alleged revelations from Vault 7 is a leak that mentions an internal group within the CIA called “UMBRAGE.” The group maintains a substantial library of cyber attack techniques that other countries use, including Russia. This potentially allows the CIA to attack a server and then misdirect by leaving digital “fingerprints” of the countries or groups that they stole the techniques from.
WikiLeaks stated the following:
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. Such is the scale of the CIA’s undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its “own NSA” with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details 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. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.
The documents are dated from 2013 to 2016.
“From what I can tell, this seems to be legitimate,” said David Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSec, who formerly worked at the NSA and with the Marine Corps’ signals intelligence unit. “It shows expansive capabilities of the CIA and divulges NSA tools as well. But a lot of it seems to be missing, as far as direct codebase used for these.” Wikileaks says it redacted specific information to protect sources and security, including “tens of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States.”
A CIA spokesperson told Fox News, “We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents.”
Edward Snowden, a man who knows a thing or two about government leaks, chimed in on Vault 7.
Shane Harris, Wall Street Journal senior writer on national security, states that his source confirmed the authenticity of the leaks.
This grandiose WikiLeaks exposé comes at a curious time. Only three days ago, President Donald J. Trump alleged that the Obama administration colluded with intelligence agencies to wiretap the Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election. President Trump accused Obama of overreaching his executive powers and ordering the spying of Trump Tower. An allegation that an Obama spokesperson has denied.