CIA could listen through cellphones, smart TVs, WikiLeaks claims
Leaks suggest spies can bypass encryption of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram
The Associated Press
Mar 07, 2017 9:41
WikiLeaks on Tuesday published thousands of documents purportedly taken from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, a dramatic release that appears to provide an eye-opening look at the intimate details of America’s cyberespionage toolkit.
The dump could not immediately be authenticated by The Associated Press and the CIA declined comment, but WikiLeaks has a long track record of releasing top secret government documents. Experts who’ve started to sift through the material said it appeared legitimate — and that the release was almost certain to shake the CIA.
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“There’s no question that there’s a fire drill going on right now,” said Jake Williams, a security expert with Augusta, Georgia-based Rendition Infosec. “It wouldn’t surprise me that there are people changing careers — and ending careers — as we speak.”
If it did prove legitimate, the dump would represent yet another catastrophic breach for the U.S. intelligence community at the hands of WikiLeaks and its allies, which have repeatedly humbled Washington with the mass release of classified material, including hundreds of thousands of documents from the State Department and the Pentagon.
The documents claim, among other things, that the spy agency has developed malware that can turn iPhones, Android devices and Samsung smart TVs into covert listening devices.
The latter, known by the codename “Weeping Angel,” was allegedly developed in co-operation with the U.K.’s MI-5. Infected TVs appear to be turned off while, in fact, they record conversations in the room and send them via the internet to the CIA, WikiLeaks said in a statement.
WikiLeaks also claims U.S. spies can bypass the encryption of apps including WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram, and that the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt, Germany is a “covert CIA hacker base” for personnel covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.