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Bigger than Snowden: WikiLeaks reveals CIA can hack anything


by Sam Rolley

A massive trove of documents released this week by WikiLeaks reveals that the U.S. government has the ability to hack everything from smart TVs and cellphones to vehicle control systems.

The dump, published Tuesday under the name “Vault 7,” includes 8,761 internal CIA documents ranging from banal communications including travel tips to explosive revelations about the extent to which the agency is able to exploit consumer electronics for surveillance purposes in an increasingly technological world.

According to the information, the CIA uses a U.S. diplomatic post in Frankfurt as a clandestine base for hacking operations all over Europe.

WikiLeaks warns that the full extent of the CIA’s hacking operation is likely much broader than most privacy experts previously imagined.

From the transparency organization:

By the end of 2016, the CIA’s hacking division, which formally falls under the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other “weaponized” malware. Such is the scale of the CIA’s undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its “own NSA” with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.

Among these efforts are programs such as “Weeping Angel,” which WikiLeaks reports allows the agency to turn smart TVs into microphones.

Under another program, the CIA developed tools which would allow the agency to take over mobile phones to force the device to “send the CIA the user’s geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone’s camera and microphone.”

And venturing from surveillance to more lethal activities, WikiLeaks claims that the CIA worked on ways to take over vehicle control systems.

“The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations,” WikiLeaks said on its website.


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