WikiLeaks’ release of top-secret CIA documents

Google and Apple say they have plugged many of the holes which WikiLeaks claims made their smartphone operating systems vulnerable to Central Intelligence Agency spies. 

WikiLeaks dumped more than 8,000 top-secret CIA documents which supposedly highlights how the US spy agency could use malware and other tools to hack into devices such as smartphones and smart TVs.

In a statement provided to Recode, Heather Adkins, Google’s director of information security and privacy, says: “As we’ve reviewed the documents, we’re confident that security updates and protections in both Chrome and Android already shield users from many of these alleged vulnerabilities.

“Our analysis is ongoing and we will implement any further necessary protections. We’ve always made security a top priority and we continue to invest in our defenses.”

More than 8,000 documents are said to have been made available by WikiLeaks, with most of them explaining how the CIA targeted Google’s Android smartphone operating system, and could – in theory – be used to spy on many other smartphones and devices.

Some of the hacks mentioned in the documents include how CIA hackers can access Samsung Smart TVs and Apple iOS devices.

Apple responded quickly by releasing a statement in which the company tacitly accepted that its iOS devices are really expensive and that it had already fixed the problems the CIA was talking about.

In a statement posted on Twitter by Buzzfeed, Apple says: “Apple is deeply committed to safeguarding our customers’ privacy and security. The technology built into today’s iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we’re constantly working to keep it that way.

“Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80 percent of users running the latest version of our operating system.

“While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities. We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates.”

Google and Apple claim to have fixed vulnerabilities highlighted by WikiLeaks’ release of top-secret… Click To Tweet

WikiLeaks is described on Wikipedia as “non-profit organisation that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources”. Its famous frontman is Julian Assange, who is currently in technical hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, England.

The international group of hackers set up a website in 2006 in Iceland, backed by an organisation called Sunshine Press, and claims to have amassed a database of 10 million documents in the past 10 years.

The documents dispatched in the CIA data dump were code-named Vault7, and essentially show what WikiLeaks calls the “massive arsenal” of cyber hacking tools available to CIA cyber espionage agents.

The CIA, of course, is keeping quiet about its cyber hacking tools, and neither confirmed or denied it is continuing to spy on all living creatures and inanimate objects on Earth and in space. It did, however, acknowledge WikiLeaks’ release of the 8,761 documents.

In a statement published by the News & Observer, the CIA says: “The American public should be deeply troubled by any WikiLeaks disclosure designed to damage the intelligence community’s ability to protect America against terrorists and other adversaries. Such disclosures not only jeopardize US personnel and operations, but also equip our adversaries with tools and information to do us harm.”

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