(March 08, 2017) – WikiLeaks has revealed yet another batch of highly sensitive and confidential CIA information to the public. This time, the organization claims it is the biggest batch of confidential documents ever release.
The documents revealed the extent of the ability of the agency to hack smartphones and popular social media messaging apps like WhatsApp. So, do people need to be bothered about this revelation? If it concerns their personal information, then it has to be viewed as a potentially-threatening attempt of the agency to gather information among unsuspected victims, and use it to steal information that can be used for unwarranted surveillance.
To simply put it, everyone’s information is at risk, especially if what WikiLeaks says is true. WikiLeaks revealed a whopping 8,761 documents as part of the so-called “Year Zero”. It is the first part in a barrage of leaks on CIA that the whistleblower group has branded “Vault 7”.
According to a statement by WikiLeaks, “Year Zero” detailed the CIA’s “worldwide covert hacking program”, which includes armed activities against mobile device manufacturers such as Apple, Google and Microsoft. Even Samsung TVs might be hacked and be converted into “covert” microphones. At this point, it is widely alarming that one of the most powerful agencies on Earth has the power to manipulate and hack into devices people use on a daily basis.
CIA’s Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) has allegedly developed numerous systems and tools to hack today’s popular mobile devices and operating systems such as iPhone, Android and Windows. The systems and tools developed by the MDB have the capacity to remotely control those smartphones and order them to send the user’s location data, as well as the device’s text and audio files. Likewise, the devices’ cameras and microphones can also be easily activated.
As what WikiLeaks has claimed on their website, those tools and methods by the CIA allow them to hack into various social media platforms such as Signal, Telegram, Whatsapp, Weibo, Cloackman and Confide. They can do this prior to encryption. The latest leak covered the time period from 2013 to 2016, as evidenced by the CIA timestamps included in the documents.
The source of the information, who wished not to be named, told WikiLeaks that they wish to spark a public debate specializing in the “security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.” The source added that the questions that must be answered publicly include the power of CIA in terms of its hacking abilities, and if they exceed the mandated powers given to them.
If these claims and allegations against the CIA is true, it will put everyone at the edge of their seat, considering the fact that their information is at a greater risk. WikiLeaks, in the past, had also revealed sensitive information against the government of different nations for transparency, so it goes without saying that this time, their source may highly likely be credible.
Going up against the CIA, one of the most powerful organizations on the planet, means suicide so to speak. In the following days, expect that the CIA will answer such allegations. For the meantime, everyone must be aware of what they share online, as the Internet is not the safest place, after all.