We’ve been pushing for disclosure, and whether the elite like it or not, it’s starting to happen! In what’s now considered the largest ever publication of confidential CIA documents, Wikileaks has just unveiled what they’re calling “Vault 7.”
Vault 7 is comprised of 8,761 documents, which Wikileaks’ Founder Julian Assange says embodies, “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.” What’s more is that the whistleblower is already being compared to Edward Snowden, as he/she has exposed the hacking skills of the CIA just as Snowden did with the NSA. Wikileaks’ anonymous source said in a statement that they’d like to spur a public debate regarding the “security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.”
What Exactly Is Vault 7?
On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Wikileaks released part one, titled “Year Zero,” of its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Wikileaks explains how the documents got into their hands within their initial Vault 7 Press Statement, stating:
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
Since 2001, the CIA has been receiving priority from the US govenment over the NSA, giving the CIA the financial freedom to create its very own fleet of hackers. The CIA’s hacking division is not obligated to disclose (or at least they choose not to) its controversial actions to the NSA “in order to draw on the NSA’s hacking capacities.“
By 2016, the CIA’s hacking operations department had basically transformed itself into the agency’s own private NSA. At the end of 2016, the division had more than 5,000 registered users and had created upwards of a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other “weaponized” malware. To give you a better understanding of the scalability of this operation, the CIA hackers had used more code than what’s used to run Facebook. This begs the question: Why did the government feel the need to financially support the creation of a competitor to the NSA?
What The Confidential CIA Files Revealed
Year Zero covers details on the CIA’s global covert hacking program, which includes “weaponized exploits” used against company products including “Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.”
Notably, the CIA has the capability to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. Government hackers can even hack into Android phones and collect “audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.” This isn’t much of a surprise, given what Snowden exposed about the NSA’s capability of hacking into phones remotely.
Vault 7 also exposed that the CIA can engage in false flag cyberattacks that make it look like Russia is the assailant. In addressing the CIA’s Remote Devices Branch’s UMBRAGE group, Wikileaks’ source states that it “collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.”
This doesn’t come as a surprise either when you consider the way in which U.S. mainstream media demonizes Russia. This also makes the DNC/Russia hack allegations by the CIA seem even more ridiculous. The U.S. has been strategically painting a false picture of Russia for a long time. For example, in one case, MSM fabricated a news story about Russia bombing a hospital in Syria, which was actually propaganda and completely made up (read more about that in our CE article here).
Another program outlined is “Weeping Angel,” designed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which essentially turns smart TVs into their own personal microphones. Weeping Angel can put the TV into a “fake off” mode, so that the TV looks like it’s off when it’s really on. When a TV is in “fake off” mode, it acts as a bug, recording conversations and spying on people, and then sending that information over the internet to a CIA server. This means that the CIA can pretty much turn any smart gadget including phones, laptops, and more into microphones. This isn’t really new information though, as we covered the smart TV scandals in the past in our CE articles here and here.
Perhaps the most astonishing finding within the Vault 7 files is that the CIA has the capability to infect the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. That’s right, this means that the CIA can technically hack into your car and control its functions. Although it’s unknown as to what the CIA uses this program for, it would theoretically permit the agency to conduct an otherwise undetectable assassination via a car accident.
I’m sure you can imagine the conspiracy theories surfacing after this information came to light, one of which is the CIA’s potential involvement with Journalist Michael Hasting’s death. Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke told The Huffington Post that the single-vehicle crash that killed Hasting is “consistent with a car cyber attack.” Of course, this is all speculation, and the documents released are between 2013 and 2016, so the program very well could’ve been designed after Hasting died.
The CIA also has the capability to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware, which is pretty much everyone working on computers. This includes numerous weaponized “zero days,” air gap jumping viruses including “Hammer Drill” which can infect software distributed via CD/DVDs, infectors for USBs, systems to disguise data in images, and more.
What Does All Of This Mean?
For starters, we know this is not yet over. Wikileaks declared this as “part one,” which suggests that there’s more information to come. I’m sure that corporations will be in uproar over the fact that the CIA can hack into their technology. Bigger companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers are now subject to serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or “zero days,” so I can’t imagine that will go over well in the tech industry.
How serious are cyber weapons anyways? Since the internet is what allows us to access information, I would say very. According to Assange, “There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade.”
It’s crucial that we continue to support organizations like Wikileaks who are giving the public the disclosure we so desperately seek. Through information and sharing knowledge, we can raise our consciousness. This is only the beginning!