WikiLeaks reveal alleged CIA malware tools
Whistle-blower site WikiLeaks has released documents purportedly revealing the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) malware tools which purportedly have the capability to remotely spy on anyone using a smart television and the ability to bypass encryption used by messenger apps like WhatsApp or Signal.
According to NBC News, the authentication of the information could not be verified but computer experts and former intelligence officials are treating them as real. The CIA declined to comment. However, WikiLeaks says the malware tools were developed by the agency.
CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA’s DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation). The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA.
Weeping Angel – Smart TV malware tool
Among the malware tools mentioned is “Weeping Angel”; a sophisticated surveillance tool developed by the agency’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB). It infests smart televisions essentially turning them into covert microphones. However, the CIA had help developing an attack for Samsung smart TVs.
The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS. 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. 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.
There are a large number of other malware tools mentioned by leak which purportedly target operating systems like Windows, Linux and OSx and routers.
WikiLeaks main concern is that the cyber weapons cannot be kept under effective control. They said once cyber weapons are developed, they are very hard to retain because they can copied quickly with no marginal cost.
The weapons can also be used against the organization containing them, and according to WikiLeaks the CIA recently lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal.
The archive eventually found its way into the WikiLeaks after being circulated by former U.S government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner.
The revelations bring into question the issue of privacy, and how far the U.S government will go to gather “intelligence”, but the scarier notion is if a private entity gets hold of these malware tools.
Imagine a draconian government getting hold of these tools.