By Analee Gentzel
March 9, 2017
WikiLeaks published on Tuesday thousands of the Central Intelligence Agency’s or better known as the C.I.A, hacking software and documents. Entitled “Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed,” the site exposes 8,761 documents in total.
These documents were described as secret files about the hacking tools used to break into users smartphones, computers and internet connected televisions from companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google.
One program called Weeping Angel describes using Samsung and other smart televisions as a secret listening tool while they are in “fake-off” mode. In a news release from WikiLeaks the TV’s “operate as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the internet to a covert C.I.A. server.”
According to The New York Times, in 2015 Samsung started to include “Please be aware that if your conversations include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition” as a warning in their terms of service.
On the WikiLeaks site the reason for releasing such publication is the anonymous source questions whether the C.I.A has gained too much power and “wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyber weapons.”
However, the site has not release any information regarding ‘armed’ cyberweapons. In WikiLeaks press release, they reviewed “Year One” which is the first part of the “Vault 7” series. In their release they revealed, “WikiLeaks has carefully reviewed the “Year Zero” disclosure and published substantive C.I.A documentation while avoiding the distribution of armed cyber weapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the C.I.A’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should analyzed, disarmed and published.”
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden told MSNBC he had only a brief review of the documents but if it’s what it is said to be then this would be a “very extensive file of the tactics, techniques, procedures, targets and other political rules.” He continued, “If it is that, it would be very, very damaging.”
It is unclear how and from who WikiLeaks got hold of this information. James Lewis, an expert on cyber security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, had the suspicion that another country may have hacked and released the documentation to WikiLeaks, such as Russia.
This is believed to be the biggest blow to the C.I.A according to The New York Times and is still on WikiLeaks site today.