WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, announced at a briefing on Tuesday, the release of a myriad of documents detailing the jarring hacking capabilities of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in an effort to boost transparency and accountability surrounding the covert monolith.
The documents entitled ‘Vault 7’ were said by Assange to be, “The most comprehensive CIA release ever”. Comprised of 8761 documents, the files are taken directly from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI).
Assange states the release will be far larger than the Snowden files which uncovered vast information surrounding the surveillance capabilities of the National Security Agency (NSA).
Claims made in a separate press release by WikiLeaks shortly after Assange’s announcement, show how specific malware and viruses developed by the CIA and other organisations facilitate the “proliferation of the CIA’s covert operations”.
Unnerving allegations explain how some of these cyber weapons exploit vulnerabilities within smartphones and smart TVs by remotely activating microphones and cameras. Essentially recording private conversations and interactions.
Additionally, the malware is supposedly capable of gaining information stored in application servers through control of the actual device, be it phone or tablet, and thus bypassing standard encryption used by most mobile apps.
The press release also cites that WikiLeaks obtained this information due to the CIA recently losing most its hacking arsenal.
Around several hundred million lines of code were circulated “in an unauthorised manner” between former US government hackers and contractors. One of which presented the whistleblowers with portions of the archive.
Assange states that much of the risk incurred from such weapons comes from the “inability to contain them” as well as the short-sightedness in “hoarding the vulnerabilities they exploit from manufacturers”.
The first part of the Vault 7 release will be entitled “Year Zero”.
The release states that the information has been given to WikiLeaks with the intent of creating public discourse surrounding cyber-freedom and privacy. Assange has stated that some information will be redacted until a deeper analysis has been made.