The WikiLeaks CIA dump reveals a detailed, highly technical catalog of tools
In what appears to be the largest leak of C.I.A documents in history, the WikiLeaks CIA Dump on Tuesday saw the release of thousands of pages describing sophisticated software tools and techniques used by the agency to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions.
The documents amount to a detailed, highly technical catalog of tools. They include instructions for compromising a wide range of common computer tools for use in spying: the online calling service Skype; Wi-Fi networks; documents in PDF format; and even commercial antivirus programs of the kind used by millions of people to protect their computers.
A program called Wrecking Crew explains how to crash a targeted computer, and another tells how to steal passwords using the autocomplete function on Internet Explorer. Other programs were called CrunchyLimeSkies, ElderPiggy, AngerQuake and McNugget.
Initial expert reactions to the WikiLeaks CIA Dump are that the data seems legitimate and will create deep problems for the CIA on many fronts. The leak has the potential both to undermine the organization’s ability to carry out offensive intelligence gathering and to damage its international public perception. The leak exposes CIA capabilities and tools like unpatched iOS and Android vulnerabilities, strategies for compromising end-to-end encrypted chats (though not undermining the encryption itself), bugs in Windows, and even the ability to turn Samsung smart TVs into listening devices.
“From what I can tell, this seems to be legitimate,” says David Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSec, who formerly worked at the NSA and with the Marine Corps’ signals intelligence unit. “It shows expansive capabilities of the CIA and divulges NSA tools as well. But a lot of it seems to be missing, as far as direct codebase used for these.” WikiLeaks says it redacted much of that more specific information. The relationship between the CIA and Pres. Trump has already shown signs of strain. What will this do?