WikiLeaks published thousands of CIA documents Tuesday that prove that the agency uses malware to spy through smartphones, smart TVs and other devices.
8,761 documents and files revealed that the agency secretly converted ordinary digital devices into cyber-tools.
“They include instructions for compromising a wide range of common computer tools for use in spying: the online calling service Skype; Wi-Fi networks; documents in PDF format; and even commercial antivirus programs of the kind used by millions of people to protect their computers,” writes The New York Times.
Some of the other questionable cyber actions outlined are instructions on how to steal passwords using the Internet Explorer browser and the agency’s “Weeping Angel” project , where they would use Samsung smart TVs and make it seem as though the TVs were turned off, but actually they were operating as listening devices.
“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,” said Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor. “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.”
WikiLeaks said the documents came from a reliable source who is a current or former CIA contractor.
The cybersecurity expert and Rendition Infosec founder Jake Williams, told The Associated Press that the documents appear to be legitimate.
Edward Snowden, who infamously exposed the NSA, said the documents look real.
“Still working through the publication, but what @Wikileaks has here is genuinely a big deal. Looks authentic,” wrote Snowden on Twitter.
The CIA did not admit to the documents being authentic.
“We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents,” said a CIA spokesperson to Fox News
“The trove appeared to lay bare the design and capabilities of some of the U.S. intelligence community’s most closely guarded cyberweapons, a breach that is likely to cause immediate damage to the CIA’s efforts to gather intelligence overseas and place new strain on the U.S. government’s relationship with Silicon Valley giants including Apple and Google,” writes The Washington Post.
WikiLeaks did redact lists of CIA targets. But they did say the lists included targets and machines in Latin America, Europe and the U.S.
The Washington Post reports the WikiLeaks dump appears to “unmask hacking methods that many experts already assumed the agency had developed.”
Former U.S. intelligence officials has argued that this dump may cause major damage to the CIA’s cyberespionage efforts.
“Any exposure of these tools is going to cause grave if not irreparable damage to the ability of our intelligence agencies to conduct our mission,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official.
But WikiLeaks decided to release the documents to let the public know and the organization believes that questions about the CIA’s reach “urgently need to be debated in public.”
WikiLeaks also alluded to tools being used for more than just spying. “It would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations,” according to the WikiLeaks release.
However, this is just the beginning. WikiLeaks allegedly has 9,000 files that they will be posting over time.
Editor’s note: This is the nature of the CIA, they do nasty things to get valuable intelligence for America. It can be ugly but they are the best at what they do, and it has save our freedoms in so many ways. The disturbing part is that since 9/11 some of these dirty tricks have been turned against American citizens.
Its is also disturbing that the CIA would be so lax in its security as to allow such a breach of its sources and methods. Not only have they allowed the compromise of sensitive operations that could cause considerable diplomatic damage, they have potentially allowed hackers to steal or duplicate their methods who could use them against innocent Americans.