WikiLeaks Publishes Data Dump of ‘Secret’ Intelligence Files

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during a press conference in the Ecuador embassy, London, 2014. via Cancilleria del Ecuador
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during a press conference in the Ecuador embassy, London, 2014. via Cancilleria del Ecuador

The whistleblower website Wikileaks has published online a trove of what it claims are thousands of secret CIA files. They detail hacking tools used to evade security on phones, apps and handheld-devices for spying.
The Wikileaks cache reveals what it says are tools used by the CIA for hacking, including a system of spyware that targets Samsung televisions which is alleged to have been built with help from Britain’s MI5.
The leak codenamed “Vault Seven” contains more than eight thousand documents and files said to be from an ultra-secure network located inside the CIA headquarters in the US state of Virginia.
A global piracy program is said to be capable of controlling motor vehicles.
According to the leaked documents, the US Consulate in Frankfurt served as a major remote hacking base for the CIA to infiltrate their targets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The German government says it takes the publication of the CIA documents seriously – as does Green Party MP Konstantin von Notz, who is already part of a German parliamentary inquiry into a previous spying scandal involving the US National Security Agency (NSA).
The agency can reportedly exploit vulnerabilities on a range of products and systems, such as the iPhone, Google Android and Microsoft Windows to access private date. As well as Samsung televisions.
“They’re tapping into cars,” said cyber security expert Will Donaldson. “They’re tapping into home TVs. They’re tapping into every device that you would carry that has a battery in it basically. Because of that, it’s so prevalent. There’s just so many holes. We’re just getting started looking at them. I think Samsung was one of them that they listed, that they could turn it on remotely but it wouldn’t put the power light on. So anybody in that room would then be discussing or talking and being monitored without their knowledge or consent.”
Cyber security experts disagree on the extent of damage from the data dump. Some say a lot would depend on whether Wikileaks followed through on a threat to publish the actual hacking tools that could do damage.
“Yes, I think anything connected to the internet is hackable, is something that can be compromised and ultimately you’ve got to be mindful of where you want your devices placed inside of your homes, offices and across your personal life,” said Varun Badhwar, RedLock CEO and cybersecurity expert.
Meanwhile Germany’s chief federal prosecutor will carefully examine the trove and, according to a spokesman, will launch an investigation if there are concrete indications of wrongdoing.