Wikileaks 'Vault 7' documents expose government's spying on citizens

Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung were all named in the thousands of released documents, which are believed to have come from the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence.

Major tech firms said on Wednesday they were looking at the allegations raised in the documents released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday.

Wikileaks says numerous hacking tools described in Vault 7 were made unclassified to skirt rules on posting classified information to the internet-most of the CIA's malware requires the use of the internet for communication.

WikiLeaks hasn't released any code, saying that it has avoided "the distribution of "armed" cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such "weapons" should [be] analyzed, disarmed and published".

The programs allowed the Central Intelligence Agency to tap into phones - Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows - and Samsung smart TVs, WikiLeaks said.

Federal authorities plan to interview hundreds of agents as part of their search to find the person responsible for providing a huge cache of top secret documents to the whistleblowing site, with initial investigations focusing on the possibility that an insider was responsible for the leaks.

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In a live-streamed press conference, Assange said WikiLeaks will give tech companies exclusive early access to the next leaks to help them develop "fixes" for products the American government is allegedly monitoring.

In a statement Tuesday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange likened the CIA's amassing of spying tools to the global arms trade.

"It is longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters", a GCHQ spokesperson told the BBC. "It's in the documents", said Napolitano, adding that the Federal Bureau of Investigation needs to locate the mole, but also figure out who - including foreign governments - is spying on Americans unlawfully.

Because manufacturers and carriers can decide if and when certain phones get over-the-air updates for their Android devices, some people are left with older versions that can still be susceptible to the CIA's exploits.

But in the hours since the documents were made available, a common misconception of the leak is that the security of encrypted messaging apps, many of which have grown in popularity during the past six months, has been compromised. The C.I.A., which has maintained that it has "no comment" on the authenticity of the new trove of Wikileaks documents, insists that its tools are for foreign cyber-espionage and that it does not target USA citizens for surveillance. The documents cover hacking incidents from 2013 to 2016 period, and contain code, malware, and zero-day security vulnerabilities known.

The aforementioned smart TV hack used a surveillance technique dubbed "Weeping Angel", which was reportedly created in partnership with the UK's MI5.

  • Ismael Montgomery