In the book 1984, George Orwell writes about a dystopian world where everyone is being watched. There are cameras everywhere. Recently, Wikileaks released a collection of files on the activities of the America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In Orwell’s world, people saw the cameras everywhere. But in our world, the big reveal is that you are looking at them right now.
The leaked documents detailed the ability of the CIA to break into smartphones, smart TVs, Microsoft and Mac. In Orwell’s world, people saw the cameras everywhere. But in our world, the big reveal is that you are looking at them right now.
Listed below are the scary findings of the latest Wikileaks release called Vault7:
CIA can break into your technological gadgets by inserting a malware on the day of release
All technology and gadgets that are meant for the masses, go through a series of developmental procedures and tests to safeguard security concerns. However, on the day of release, there are often a few security loopholes that have not been detected and are later found and fixed. The CIA terms this day of release, the Zero Day.
According to the leaks, they target gadgets on this day and find ways to find those loopholes. A good thing, isn’t it? The CIA, working to find and fix security loopholes in different devices can only be a good thing. Only, it isn’t exactly like that. They find the loopholes, but do not fix them. They do not report the loopholes to the companies making the devices but instead use them to insert a malware.
Not just smart phones, your television too can be attacked by malware which places it on ‘Fake-Off’ mode
One such malware, called “Weeping Angel” infests smart TVs. An attack against Samsung’s smart TVs was made in collusion with the British Intelligence Agency, MI5. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that it appears to the owner that the TV is off even though it is actually on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, records conversations in the room and sends them over the Internet to the CIA.
CIA keeps an eye on your social media activities despite the encryption policy
Similar backdoors have been created on iPhones and Android devices. These techniques permit the CIA to bypass even the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman. Because the backdoor entry that the CIA has on the device’s hardware enables them to insert malware with the ability to record and transmit data that is typed on the phones, even before the data is mounted on the platform of these applications to be encrypted. The CIA as of October 2014 was also looking into infecting vehicle control systems used in new cars and trucks with malware. The purpose of that is still unknown.
These leaks, on their own, do not prove that we live in a world where we are always being watched and our activities recorded. However, it certainly proves that the technology to spy on anyone, all the time, exists. This shocking discovery raises questions like, “Does the CIA’s hacking potential exceed its mandate?” and “Is individual privacy a hoax?” which ironically can be answered only by CIA.