WikiLeaks once again made some media headlines earlier this week. By announcing how the CIA hacking tools had been revealed, WikiLeaks got everybody’s attention right away. Unfortunately, that was only the tip of the iceberg, as the list of associated confidential documents are what really piqued people’s interest. Moreover, it appears the CIA lost control over most of its hacking arsenal.
WikiLeaks Exposes Dirty CIA Secrets
Although most people have no love lost for the CIA when it comes to consumer privacy, it appears things are far much worse than anticipated. As one would expect, the CIA has a vast army of hackers to do their bidding. Moreover, this division of “skilled IT engineers” does not have to disclose controversial operations to the NSA anymore. At the end of 2016, over 5,000 hackers were linked to the CIA’s cyber division, which is quite a substantial number.
The scope of these operations ranges from introducing malware and trojans to executing state-sponsored attacks against international targets. Additionally, the CIA hacker division successfully wrote more lines of code for nefarious purposes compared to the coding required to keep Facebook operational. It seems evident the hacking team’s powers well exceed the mandated powers, as there is a seemingly huge lack of public oversight.
What is of particular concern is how the CIA seems to target virtually every type of consumer device with its malware and other hacking tools. This means computers, mobile devices, TVs, and virtually every other type of electronic device is capable of spying on consumers around the clock. Samsung smart TVs, for example, have been one of the CIA’s targets in recent years. The government agency even looked into distributing malicious software and backdoor to vehicle control systems used by cars and trucks.
Even Apple devices are not safe from CIA scrutiny, despite what the technology giant may claim. The lower market share of iPhones isn’t keeping the CIA from deploying malware to exfiltrate data from these devices. According to WiliLeaks, the CIA controls dozens of zero-day exploits targeting Apple devices. Android is an even bigger target for the CIA right now, as all of these devices are at risk of being controlled by the agency at one point or another.
Computer users are not spared either, which should not come as a surprise. Windows, Linux, OS X, and even routers are all viable targets for CIA spying tactics. Considering how this government institution successfully hoarded zero-day vulnerabilities, it is impossible to tell how much damage may have been done in the process. The bigger concern is how these weapons may fall into the wrong hands, as it seems that has already happened in some cases.
While it may sound plausible to the CIA to effectively control their cyber arsenal, the reality is very different. Malware and other types of cyber spying tools cannot be controlled effectively for long periods of time. Anyone can copy these software tools and use them for their own benefits. In fact, most hacking tool developers often sell their creations to multiple parties. It is only plausible to assume the CIA are not the only ones who have access to this vast arsenal of cyber tools. It appears several of these tools have been stolen by unknown parties over the past three years alone.
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