Wikileaks publishes files on CIA hacking abilities

Correction — March 19, 2017
This article incorrectly describes WikiLeaks as "the organisation behind the Edward Snowden leaks". WikiLeaks only got involved with Snowden after Snowden had leaked material through other outlets.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Yesterday, WikiLeaks, the organisation behind the Edward Snowden leaks, released files going into detail about the CIA's hacking capabilities.

WikiLeaks logo.

The collection, which WikiLeaks dubbed "vault 7", contains 8761 files including claims the CIA can bypass the encryption of many popular encrypted messaging apps including WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Weibo, Confide, and Cloackman, and hack all major phone and computer operating systems, including 24 individual Android exploits, and Samsung smart TVs. It is claimed the CIA can use the Samsung F8000 TV to spy while seemingly turned off, a technique WikiLeaks claimed was a collaborative development of the CIA with MI5. It also alleges the US consulate in Frankfurt is used as a "sensitive compartmentalised information facility", a secret base from which US spies hack Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

WikiLeaks compared the surveillance technology with George Orwell's novel 1984, in which the TVs watch the citizens. The CIA said, "We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents", though no spokesperson from the home office was available to comment. However, Edward Snowden, ex-CIA hacker and whistleblower who previously leaked CIA documents, said he thought they looked authentic, claiming the documents contained inside information.