The WikiLeaks on Tuesday published huge trove of CIA spying secrets.
The files are the most comprehensive release of US spying files ever made public, according to Julian Assange.
In all, there are 8,761 documents that account for “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA”, Assange claimed in a press release, and the trove is just the first of a series of “Vault 7” leaks.
‘Year Zero’ – the documents and files – are from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina [sic],” a press release accompanying the leaks reads.
The leaks reveal a hacking operations center called the Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe (CCIE) based out of the Frankfurt Consulate.
Other tools allowed for hackers who had to breach networks on site to appear to be doing other things, including playing video games like Brickout or listening to music.
Already, the files include far more pages than the Snowden files that exposed the vast hacking power of the NSA and other agencies. The documents contain descriptions of hacking tools, engineering notes, internal communications and more. The release did not immediately appear to have included the tools themselves, and agent names have been redacted.
The CIA’s arsenal includes software that could allow the agency to take control of the most popular consumer electronics products used today, claimed WikiLeaks.
“‘Year Zero’ introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones,” WikiLeaks said.
The files were made available by a source who intended for them to start a conversation about whether the CIA had gained too much power, according to WikiLeaks.
Excerpts from WikiLeaks Press Release:
CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs
CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA’s DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA.
The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.
The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, but “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB) , which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.
The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.
The CIA’s Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smrt phones. Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user’s geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone’s camera and microphone.
Despite iPhone’s minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA’s Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS such s iPads. The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.
A similar unit targets Google’s Android which is used to run majority of the world’s smartphones (85%). 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year.
These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the “smart” phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.
CIA malware targets Windows, OSx, Linux, routers
The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware. This includes multiple local and remote weaponized “zero days”, air gap jumping viruses such as “Hmmer Drill”, which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, USBs etc. .
The CIA has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB’s “HIVE” and the related “Cutthroat” and “Swindle” tools.
“Year Zero” documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration’s commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA’s cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.
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 CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities (“zero days”) possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.
The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers. By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone &mdsh; at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.
Read the full document: https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/