After NSA, WikiLeaks Reveals Alleged CIA Hacking Tools For Cyber Espionage

WikiLeaks recently released details of CIA’s covert program about hacking or cyber attack as part of a series of seven installments briefly summarized as the biggest leak of intelligence in history.

WikiLeaks, led by Julian Assange, had planned a press conference on the internet to present its Vault 7 project, but later announced on Twitter that the organization’s platforms had been attacked, leading to the conference being canceled. In a statement, the Australian computer programmer, publisher, and journalist stated that this leak is exceptional from a legal, political and forensic perspective.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange releases documents related to CIA’s tools for cyber espionage. [Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]

According to WikiLeaks, the CIA recently lost control of most of its hacking arsenal that the agency employs in a cyber war, including malware, viruses, Trojans, remote malware systems, and associated documentation among others. Assange warned that the arsenal is now in the hands of hackers, who would be marketing the material. The Wikileaks founder reveals that “there is an extreme risk of proliferation in the race accelerated by cyber war,” resulting from the inability of security agencies to control them once they have created them and their “high market value.”

This extraordinary collection, which the group claims amounts to more than several hundred million lines of codes, “gives its possessor all the CIA’s hacking ability,” sources claim. The file appears to have been distributed among former hackers and contractors of the US government in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the file.

The leak shows the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert piracy program, its arsenal of malware against a wide range of products from US and European companies, including Apple iPhone, Google Android, Microsoft Windows, or The Samsung TVs, also known as Smart TVs, which become concealed microphones. These devices can become concealed microphones using software supposedly made in collaboration with the British MI5.

The Vault 7 series premiered today with the chapter Year Zero, covering a period from 2013 to 2016. The first installment, according to the organization, “already eclipses the total of pages published in the first three years of revelations about the NSA by Edward Snowden.” The organization further revealed that the Frankfurt Consulate is the cybernetic base of operations in Europe for the alleged covert CIA program.

WikiLeaks argues that the CIA has been increasing its cybercrime capabilities to rival, with even less transparency, with the NSA, the other U.S. security agency. Upon these revelations, the CIA has not wanted to position itself. Its spokesman, Jonathan Liu, has expressed that “we do not comment on the authenticity or the content of supposed intelligence documents.”

The portal says that in disseminating all this documentation, it has taken care not to distribute “cybernetic weapons” until a consensus is reached regarding the political and technical nature of the CIA program as to how such ‘weapons’ should be analyzed and deactivated. Julian Assange directed the broadcast of Vault 7 from his residence in the embassy of Ecuador, where he took refuge on June 19, 2012, to avoid his extradition to Sweden, where he is charged with the sexual offense that he denies.

Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy where he continues to seek asylum following an extradition request from Sweden. [Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]

Assange’s platform said that this is the biggest leak in CIA history, although the biggest one suffered by the United States in recent history was precisely that of the 2010 diplomatic and military documents, which made Wikileaks a global phenomenon and thus resulted in a 35-year sentence for the military analyst Chelsea Manning (then Bradley), who stole and entered the information. What has been revealed, however, is at the height of a great scandal like the one provoked by Edward Snowden, the security analyst who pronounced the massive electronic espionage of States and lives protected in Moscow. In the last days of his presidency, Barack Obama decided to commute the sentence Manning, which supposed a great controversy.

At the end of 2016, US intelligence agencies accused Moscow of orchestrating an espionage campaign during the recently concluded presidential election, but of a very different caliber, as they accused the Kremlin of filtering private party emails and spread false news, among other strategies, in order to degrade the candidacy of Hillary Clinton and favor the arrival of Donald Trump to power.

This episode pitted Trump, then-president-elect, against his own espionage services, which undercut credibility. After the inauguration, on January 20, once in the White House, the confrontation returned when the press published the connections of members of his team with Moscow. Tuesday’s revelations, if confirmed, will give Trump a good chance to insist that the intelligence agency is plagued by snitches who do not take good care of confidential information.

[Featured Image by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images]

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