A seemingly calm Tuesday morning was disrupted by yet another intelligence agency data dump, this time targeting the CIA. Released by WikiLeaks, the trove of information includes nearly 9,000 documents and millions of lines of code.
Most of the leaked material is from the Applied Engineering Division of the Agency, a sort of in-house hacking and monitoring group with similar tools of the NSA.
According to WikiLeaks, the source released the data because they wanted to spur a conversation on “security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyber weapons.” Intelligence experts at ABC News have started processing the released content and have confirmed its authenticity.
If this content is indeed authentic, it is likely to spark yet another debate relating to the capacities of intelligence agencies, and what, if any, oversight there is relating to their highly secretive operations. The Applied Engineering Division’s actions mirror that of the NSA, while the CIA potentially did so without the Congressional oversight that the NSA requires.
Without this oversight, WikiLeaks claims that the CIA’s nearly 5,000 hackers created over a thousand viruses, Trojans, and other forms of malware.
Alleged CIA Revelations
Some of alleged CIA revelations from the WikiLeaks data trove include:
- The “Weeping Angel”, a program developed with Britain to hack Samsung Smart TVs. The program makes televisions appear turned off, while secretly remaining on and recording audio and sending data back to remote CIA servers.
- Lists of current vulnerabilities of operating systems on devices ranging from Android and Apple iOS phones to routers and Windows computers, and how to use these vulnerabilities to enter through software backdoors. Such acts would be in direct violation of the commitment the Obama administration gave the U.S. technology industry after the Snowden leak of 2013, that agencies would disclose discovered vulnerabilities.
- Utilizing geolocation software in order to tap into the vehicle control system of cars. WikiLeaks claims such software would allow the Agency to carry out “undetectable assassinations”
- That the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert hacking facility. WikiLeaks published alleged internal CIA guides instructing agents on how to conceal their identity to German customs officials.
Jake Williams, a security expert at Rendition Infosec, said, “There’s no question that there’s a fire drill going on right now [at the CIA].” He continued, “It wouldn’t surprise me that there are people changing careers — and ending careers — as we speak.”