Home Government Tech WikiLeaks releases Vault 7, biggest dump of CIA secrets

WikiLeaks releases Vault 7, biggest dump of CIA secrets

WikiLeaks has released a huge number of CIA documents detailing the hacking tools used by the agency in what it calls the biggest dump of security material in history.

The release, dubbed Vault 7 by the organisation, comprises 8761 documents and files from the CIA's Centre for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia. It is part of what WikiLeaks dubs Year Zero.

The release includes zero-day exploits for many software applications that are in common use and which the companies behind them did not know about.

WikiLeaks said in a media release that the CIA had recently lost control of most of its hacking arsenal, including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponised zero-day exploits, malware remote control systems and the documentation for these.

The archive appears to have been circulating around between former US government hackers, one of whom appears to have leaked the whole lot to WikiLeaks.

Weaponised exploits against Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, Microsoft Windows were among the dump, as also exploits to turn Samsung TVs into covert microphones.

WikiLeaks said by the end of last year, the CIA's hacking division had more than 5000 registered users and had produced more than 1000 hacking systems.

"Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilised more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its 'own NSA' with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified," the organisation said.

WikiLeake publisher Julian Assange was quoted as saying: " "There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade.

"But the significance of 'Year Zero' goes well beyond the choice between cyber war and cyber peace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."

WikiLeaks said it had redacted and anonymised identifying information in the documents for in-depth analysis, including thousands of CIA targets and attack machines in South America, Europe and the US.

"While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in 'Vault 7' part one (
'Year Zero') already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks," it said.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.