8.3.17

CIA Hacking

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Newly released by WikiLeaks today is a collection of CIA documents referred to as “Vault 7,” detailing the CIA’s hacking and surveillance technology development. The current release spans “Year 0” of the program, with several more years of documents expected to be released.
Officially called “Weeping Angel,” the program sought 0-day exploits in myriad technology, including not just computers and routers, but things like smartphones and even Smart TVs, with documents showing the CIA could make a Samsung-branded TV go into a “fake-off” mode, where it would appear to be turned off, but its microphone was active and the CIA could listen in to everything happening.
The same was true of the phones targeted, with the CIA having what is said to be a large cache of exploits against both Apple and Android-based phones, exploits they carefully kept guarded from the manufacturers of the phones so that the flaws were never properly repaired. The phone breaches were focused in part on having an OS-level exploit that would render security features in encrypted applications useless,
Also among the efforts, the CIA was trying to hack into cars, with an eye toward gaining remote control over cars anywhere in the world, leading to speculation that the cars would be made to “assassinate” the drivers in an undetectable manner.
The CIA hid its discoveries not just from companies that might fix them, but also from the rest of the US government, meaning they knowingly let cabinet members, Congress and other top officials use knowingly vulnerable technology for secure purposes rather than reveal what they’d discovered.
The plan is described by some as an effort by the CIA to create its own NSA within the agency, only with even less oversight to the program. As WikiLeaks releases more documents it will be interesting to see how much of this surveillance technology was turned against Americans.