- Wikileaks published 8,761 documents and files claiming to be from the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence on Tuesday
- Leak details information on how CIA-developed malware can target iPhones, Android phones, smart TVs and Microsoft, Mac and Linux systems
- Wikileaks alleges some remote hacking programs can turn electronic devices into recording and transmitting stations to spy on targets
- Documents also claims the CIA can bypass encryption of Whatsapp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloakman by hacking smartphones
WikiLeaks has published thousands of documents claiming to reveal top CIA hacking secrets, including the agency's ability to infiltrate encrypted applications like Whatsapp or Signal.
Wikileaks said the files released on Tuesday - mysteriously dubbed ' Vault 7' - are the most comprehensive release of U.S. spying files ever made public.
The leak purportedly includes 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina.
It details intelligence information on CIA-developed malware intended to hack iPhones, Android phones, smart TVs and Microsoft, Mac and Linux operating systems.
Wikileaks alleges that some of the remote hacking programs can turn these electronic devices into recording and transmitting stations to spy on their targets.
It also claims the CIA can bypass the encryption of Whatsapp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloakman by hacking the smart phones the applications run on.
WikiLeaks, founded by Julian Assange has published thousands of documents that it says come from the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence
The documents could not immediately be authenticated, but WikiLeaks has a long track record of releasing top secret government documents. A spokesman for the CIA would not comment.
WikiLeaks, which had been dropping cryptic hints about the release for a month, said in a lengthy statement that the CIA had 'recently' lost control of a massive arsenal of CIA hacking tools as well as associated documentation.
The organization said that 'the archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner' and that one of them 'provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.'
They said the archive of files - referred to as Year Zero - introduces the scope of the CIA's global covert hacking program and includes software that could allow people to take control of consumer electronic products.
The documents cover a range of topics, including what appeared to be a discussion about how to compromise smart televisions and turn them into improvised surveillance devices.
The alleged program called 'Weeping Angel' is said to have been developed in conjunction with the British spy agency MI5 and allows them to hack a Samsung smart TV when it is seemingly switched off.
'After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on,' the files say, according to Wikileaks.
'In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.'
WikiLeaks said the leaked data also included details on the agency's efforts to subvert American software products and smartphones, including Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows.
Files claims the CIA developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones.
'Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user's geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone's camera and microphone,' the files state.
'A similar unit targets Google's Android which is used to run the majority of the world's smart phones including Samsung, HTC and Sony.'
A 'substantial library' of digital espionage techniques borrowed from Russia and other countries is in the data as well, WikiLeaks said.
The organization said it redacted the names of CIA officers and avoided publishing damaging details of cyber weapons.
They said they will refrain from doing do 'until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.'
The files also reveal that in addition to its operations in Virginia, the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Wikileaks said the release of confidential documents on the agency already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.
WikiLeaks said in a lengthy statement that the files, mysteriously dubbed ' Vault 7', are the most comprehensive release of U.S. spying files ever made public
Experts who've started to sift through the material said it appeared legitimate - and that the release was almost certain to shake the CIA.
If it did prove legitimate, the dump would represent yet another catastrophic breach for the U.S. intelligence community at the hands of WikiLeaks and its allies, which have repeatedly humbled Washington with the mass release of classified material.
Jake Williams, a security expert with Augusta, Georgia-based Rendition Infosec, has experience dealing with government hackers. He said that the voluminous files' extensive references to operation security meant they were almost certainly government-backed.
'I can't fathom anyone fabricated that amount of operational security concern,' he said. 'It rings true to me.'
'The only people who are having that conversation are people who are engaging in nation-state-level hacking.'
Bob Ayers, a retired U.S. intelligence official currently working as a security analyst, agreed, saying that the release was 'real bad' for the agency.
Ayers noted that WikiLeaks has promised to release more CIA documents, saying Tuesday's publication was just 'the first full part of the series.'
'The damage right now is relatively high-level,' he said. '(But) the potential for really detailed damage will come in the following releases.'
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