WikiLeaks has been known for disclosing confidential information related to various schemes and exploits from famous groups and organizations but it recently revealed a trove of intelligence.
In what appears to be the largest leak of C.I.A documents in history, WikiLeaks released thousands of pages describing sophisticated software tools and techniques used by the agency to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected smart televisions.
The leaked information set, named ‘Vault 7’, consists of CIA spying documents that reveal the full scope of what the organization is capable of. While we’ve known for a while now that organizations like the NSA have access to personal information more than what many citizens are comfortable with. The recent leak suggests that the Central Intelligence Agency has the ability to turn any Android, iOS, Windows or Samsung TV device into a covert microphone and actually listen to the surroundings.
This is extremely concerning for numerous reasons. The documents disclose that the malware has the ability to activate and record data from Samsung smart TV microphones. It also mentions that infected smartphones can have their audio, text and location data routed to the agency while also activating sensors such as the device’ camera.
The agency apparently had access to 24 different “zero days” for Android devices which allowed it to bypass the end-to-end encryption of apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Weibo and Confide, collecting the message data sent through the device before the encryption was even applied. This essentially allowed all the information input by the user to be collected by the CIA, meaning there was no hidden information even when using apps users thought to be secure.