WikiLeaks reveals Central Intelligence Agency tools used to hack phones, TVs
WikiLeaks will provide technology companies with exclusive access to Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools it possesses, allowing them to patch software flaws, founder Julian Assange says.
If sharing were to occur, it would be an unusual alliance that would give companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and others an opportunity to identify and fix any flaws in their software and devices that were being exploited by USA spy agencies and some foreign allies, as described in the material.
"The American public should be deeply troubled by any WikiLeaks disclosure created to damage the Intelligence Community's ability to protect America against terrorists and other adversaries", the CIA said in a terse statement.
"The worst thing that could happen is for users lose faith in encryption-enabled tools and stop using them". Some of the material was redacted by WikiLeaks to avoid releasing the actual computer code used in the programs. The archive appears to have been circulated among former US government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive. WikiLeaks has also been accused of aiding covert Russian intelligence efforts to undermine the latest USA presidential election, and came under fire recently for publishing documents without first redacting sensitive information that critics argue is not pertinent to the broader privacy and civil liberties issues at stake.
The hacking abilities and programs apparently occurred between 2013 and 2016, where a variety of devices, including Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows and Samsung's TVs, became microphones known as zero day exploits.
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One attack detailed by WikiLeaks turns a Samsung Smart TV into a listening device, fooling the owner to believe the device is switched off using a "Fake-Off" mode.
But a CIA spokesman would not confirm the authenticity of the materials published by WikiLeaks, which said they were leaked from the spy agency's hacking operations.
A number of anecdotal examples of the CIA's hacking technology were revealed in the data dump.
That pledge means "security flaws should get back to the companies so they can get fixed, and not languish for years", Hall said. This protects the messages from man-in-the-middle attacks that intercept communications between a device and an app's servers while also preventing companies from reading the information themselves.
Google's response is nearly identical to Apple's, but isn't particularly comforting given that the documents WikiLeaks has released are at least a year old, and more are on their way.
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