Wikileaks has been teasing the release of what they call #Vault7 for a while, with more and more clues as to what they are planning to release. Today, the organization went ahead and published Vault 7, and now we know what it is: the secrets of CIA hacking tools.
Here is a quote from Wikileaks' press release:
The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.
According to Wikileaks, the CIA lost control of a lot of hacking tools, and they are out in the wild. This contains hundreds of millions of lines of programming code. Wikileaks claims that those who were able to get it -- via the dark web -- now have access to all of the hacking tools that the CIA has -- although this isn't strictly true.
Wikileaks Vault 7: The CIA Is Spying on Your Phones and TVs
According to Wikileaks' release, the CIA can turn your smart TVs into microphones and listen in on you -- even when the TVs appear to be off -- we heard about the possibility of that earlier, but this is the first time we're seeing an exploit of that security hole in the wild.
Valut 7 also suggests that the CIA was looking at infecting the ECUs of cars, although it is unclear whether they were able to succeed in that endeavor. Wikileaks claims that the CIA may have intended to use those hacks for undetectable assassinations.
Wikileaks Vault 7: CIA Knew Of Vulnerabilities In Software, But Hid Them
Another things that #Vault7 seems to suggest is that the CIA had access to a long list of vulnerabilities, that were not known to the manufacturer. That means that the manufacturer could not fix those vulnerabilities.
The CIA appears to have used the Frankfurt, Germany consulate to do spying.
A number of the CIA's electronic attack methods are designed for physical proximity. These attack methods are able to penetrate high security networks that are disconnected from the internet, such as police record database. In these cases, a CIA officer, agent or allied intelligence officer acting under instructions, physically infiltrates the targeted workplace. The attacker is provided with a USB containing malware developed for the CIA for this purpose, which is inserted into the targeted computer. The attacker then infects and exfiltrates data to removable media. For example, the CIA attack system Fine Dining, provides 24 decoy applications for CIA spies to use. To witnesses, the spy appears to be running a program showing videos (e.g VLC), presenting slides (Prezi), playing a computer game (Breakout2, 2048) or even running a fake virus scanner (Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos). But while the decoy application is on the screen, the underlaying system is automatically infected and ransacked.
Wikileaks Vault 7: Did The CIA Hack President's Twitter?
At one point in the release, Wikileaks makes this shocking -- but totally unsupported assertion: it suggests that the CIA was running software that could penetrate "presidential Twitter accounts." There is nothing different between presidential accounts and others' Twitter accounts, so it's totally unclear why they would say that.
Here's the shocking statement fro Wikileaks:
specific CIA malware revealed in "Year Zero" is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts. The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities ("zero days") possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.
However, there is absolutely no evidence at this point that the CIA did anything with any president's Twitter account.
The Mystery of #Vault7
When Wikileaks was teasing #Vault7, they did it very vaguely. They spent several days releasing images along with cryptic notes. The photos in the tweets were (1) a bunker, (3) and (4) the air force, (6) the Stasi and/or George Soros.
Wikileaks had posted a link to http://vault.fbi.gov, a government website: FBI Records: The Vault. The Vault was due to the Freedom of Information Act, and contained 6,000+ documents over several years belonging to the FBI. According to the FBI, there were only 6 parts to The Vault. Earlier, we suggested that "Vault 7" could be an unofficial part of these releases, potentially having to do with the Clinton investigation.
#Vault7: Conspiracy Theories
There were several #Vault7 Wikileaks conspiracy theories. On Reddit, there was a post that claimed that Vault 7 has something to do with Nazi gold...and 9/11... -- or President Obama, George Soros, and (of course) the Rockefellers and the Rothchilds.
Others had suggested that "Vault 7" related to the the Global Seed Vault, as a picture of that organization was included in the #Vault7 teasers.
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