On Tuesday, March 7, WikiLeaks went public exposing the Central Intelligence Agency’s ability to hack all of your technology
The CIA have cyberweapons that can infiltrate your smartphone, your computer, your router and even your Samsung TV. Even your modern car is not safe.
An anonymous former government hacker released the largest ever publication of CIA files and documents to WikiLeaks, codenamed “Vault 7“. WikiLeaks have exposed to the public the first part of a series that they will gradually roll out, for security purposes.
This first series, named “Year Zero” contains 8761 files and documents. This surpasses the quantity published during the 3 years that Edward Snowden exposed the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Contained within these documents and files are cyberweapons that could bring down an entire nation’s infrastructure if it were to land in the wrong hands. There have already been numerous arrests associated with the leak, but so far no one has been publicly named.
The anonymous source appropriated the files from an isolated a high-security network within the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), located in Langley Virginia.
He was part of a larger network of former hackers and contractors once employed by the CIA. These ex-workers have been circulating this highly sensitive information in an unauthorized manner.
Urgent Public Debate Needed
The source decided to release the information to WikiLeaks as it raises urgent policy questions that must be debated publicly.
The CIA has essentially shot itself in the foot, by keeping information about the vulnerabilities within this vast range of technologies secret. The leak shows how easily cyber criminals, or rival nations, could have got a hold of it, and wreaked untold damage.
There are many levels of illegality and carelessness that the CIA have indulged in. It is likely that it was merely a race to gain budgetary and political preeminence over the NSA.
CIA: Careless, Negligent, Greedy
The NSA has been a bureaucratic rival of the CIA since 2001. This “competition” has placed the public, industry and government institutions in dire jeopardy.
By the end of 2016, the CIA had almost managed to create within themselves a replica of the NSA. They hoped they could circumvent accountability. Their motivation was to avoid justifying their outrageous budgetary spending.
This duplicated division is the Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI). According to the leaked information, it has around 5000 registered users who have managed to produce more than 1000 cyberweapons.
And now the CIA has lost control over its entire arsenal of hacking weapons. These weapons included viruses, malware and malware remote control systems, trojans, weaponized “zero days” exploits, and all their associated documents.
These several hundred million lines of code are said to make up the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.
The CIA is already subject to the notoriety of its infamous drone fleet. Now their large fleet of hackers has recklessly put the public at risk. All for the sake of freeing the CIA from having to disclose its operations to the NSA.
The entire CIA operation is incredibly vast and equally horrifying. Many layers of divisions worked on creating cyberweaponry. Cyberweaponry designed to infiltrate all the modern technology we know and use in our everyday lives.
How were YOU put in Jeopardy?
The Engineering Development Group (EDG) was one such division with the CCI. Its purpose was to turn your phone, your computer and your TV into covert microphones to record private conversations.
Shockingly, in conjunction with MI5/BTSS, the CCI developed “Weeping Angel”. This is a hack that puts a Samsung TV into “Fake Off Mode” in order to covertly bug and record people in its vicinity.
Orwellian Weeping Angel
“Weeping Angel” is horrifyingly identical to the Big Brother technology that George Orwell described in his dystopian novel, “1984”.
Revealed evidence also showed that in October 2014 the CIA was looking into ways to infect vehicle control systems.
Anyone who has bought a modern car, or drives a modern truck that incorporates hi-tech would be vulnerable. Members of the public could be hacked and have their vehicle’s control overridden.
Is Your Smartphone Watching You?
Another specialized division within the CIA is the Mobile Devices Branch (MBD). This division developed numerous cyberweapons.
These cyberweapons have the ability to hack and control your smartphone. The CIA would then be able to find your exact location via geolocation.
The “Zero Days” techniques are so subversive that they can intercept communications even before they become subject to encryption.
They can monitor you on apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Weibo, and Signal. The cyberweaponry can also covertly activate a phone’s camera and microphone.
Security Patches Urgently Being Sought
Thankfully, Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft have been able now to act swiftly. The companies are working towards patching the gaps that the CIA hackers were using, to break through into their technology.
Apple claims that many of the vulnerabilities that the CIA were taking advantage of were already dealt with in their most recent iOS update.
What is quite unbelievable, is that the CIA are defensive of their actions. Michael Hayden, an ex-CIA director complained that tools that would be useful for legitimate foreign surveillance, and were essentially wasted via the leak.
However, Hayden fails to acknowledge that the activities of the CIA were entirely illegal. The CIA broke the law by breaching administration commitments that put in place by the Obama Administration.
In the past, US tech companies had lobbied for a “Vulnerabilities Equities Process” from the government. The US government responded, promising that full disclosure of all vulnerabilities would be made after 2010.
CIA: Criminal Acts
What the CIA have done is a clear breach of this agreement. The vulnerabilities, that they failed to declare to manufacturers, could have put the public, and vital infrastructure, in great risk.
If the CIA can discover cracks, this means anyone can. Anyone includes cyber criminals and foreign intelligence in unfriendly states – even your average teen hacker.
The CIA claims they created such cyberweaponry to protect people. Ironically they have ended up putting the public in grave jeopardy.
And the CIA were even careless in their creation of their cyberweapons. The individually handcrafted techniques utilized in their creation enables simple tracking back to the source.
And cyberweapons are near impossible to control. Unlike physical weaponry, code can be copied multiple times and hidden in multiple locations.
Even with nuclear weapons, covert operations involving them are easier to thwart and prevent, due to their tangible nature.
Lucrative Cyberweapon Market
The market for cyberweaponry is also extremely lucrative. A weak internal link within an organization can sell out to the highest bidder if the price is desirable enough.
It is clear that urgent public debate needs to occur immediately. The CIA’s hacking abilities have clearly exceeded security boundaries by many miles.
It appears as if this was more than a mere oversight by the agency. Could it be that something more sinister is occurring within it?
Assange Promises Cyberweapon Disarming
In the meantime, WikiLeaks editor, Julian Assange is retaining a tight censorship on this information, that could create a cyberwar. Such a cyberwar could potentially send us hurtling back into the dark ages.
The leak of Vault 7 will unfold gradually. This is in order to ensure that the cyberweapons developed by the CIA are all disarmed. This way the public can feel reassured that they are safe.