The term Wikileaks is not alien to the cyber world as it has always been in the news for disclosing important official governmental data. In another drastic revelation, recently, a certain section of Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) data originating from U.S. has been leaked.
The leaked data is termed as “Vault 7” which includes more than 8700 files that are leaked from CIA’s vault. Sources suggest that this information has been verified.
According to Wikileaks, CIA lost an important set of data containing information regarding its tactics to hack devices. It has been claimed that some former U.S. Government hackers got hold of this data through illegal means thus falling into the hands of Wikileaks.
The reports by former U.S government officials suggest that some of the devices being hacked by CIA are as follows:
- Android phones
- Samsung’s Smart TV
- Windows and Linux computers
- Mac computers
WhatsApp Messages Not Encrypted for CIA
Wikileaks has made a breakthrough claim that even WhatsApp messages of users are not hidden from CIA as they are read by the intelligence agency before they get encrypted. The end-to-end encryption feature is not valid for CIA. As a matter of fact, if CIA hacks your phone, it can sniff into anything it wants.
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CIA has the option to read the messages while you type and the encryption process starts after the messages are sent from your phone. Therefore, this gap has been brilliantly capitalized by CIA hackers.
The Operating System is the Culprit
As discussed earlier, the encryption option prevents the disclosure of information once they are sent. In addition, it stops public hackers to get into your personal messages through public internet. Conversely, CIA hackers have the privilege to read them as they are typed. The real culprit is the operating system (OS) such as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android system and not the applications. However, the two tech giants escape the criticism ensuing the news.
CIA enters into these operating systems by using different forms of viruses such as malware, viruses, trojans and zero-day exploits (security flaws in an OS which the manufacturer is not aware of).
The leaked document provides details of CIA’s hacking tactics during the period 2013-2016. Therefore, it is not safe to assume that the agency is still using similar tactics to hack these devices. The exact versions of the operating systems have also not been mentioned. Subsequently, it is also possible that some of these issues have already been rectified by the manufacturers.