According to thousands of documents posted by Wikileaks that it says reveal important CIA hacking secrets. The documents allegedly include the spy agency's ability to penetrate encrypted communication apps. The CIA says it would not comment on the authenticity of the documents.
Here are examples of what they can do. This stuff is pretty cool. SCARY...but cool.
- After infestation, the “Weeping Angel” places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode, so that the owner thinks it’s off – when it’s really on. “In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug,” says Wikileaks. “Recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.” The attack against Samsung smart TVs was reportedly developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom's MI5/BTSS.
- Then there’s your smart phone. The CIA's Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) appears to have developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones. Phones infected can be made to send the CIA the user's geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone's camera and microphone.
- And in spite of the legal wranglings with Apple over the Feds’ desire to have the company crack their phones – which Apple refused. It appears to be all so much theater. Turns out there’s 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 as iPads.” And other phones are no safer. A similar unit targets Google's Android which is used to run the majority of the world's smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony.
- And of course your home computer is equally at risk. Wikileaks writes: “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 "Hammer Drill" which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ("Brutal Kangaroo") and to keep its malware infestations going.
Interestingly, the tech industry reportedly thought they had a deal with the Obama administration over such bugs and vulnerability. Apparently, they thought wrong. Now, Apple, Google and Microsoft haven’t been able to make the needed fixes. And while the CIA has yet to comment on the document release, it’s worth noting that with every recent release made by the site in recent times, the facts they disburse haven’t been challenged – just the source of the information.
photo: Getty Images