Wikileaks is back with yet another massive trove of secret data from the US government. Released under the name Vault 7, the data dump supposedly contains every hacking trick and operation the CIA has been using.
The information released contains details on how the CIA conducts its own cyberwarfare and surveillance activities. This includes hoarding zero-day exploits; which happens to directly contravene a directive from former US president Barack Obama. The directive instructs US institutions to disclose any zero-days to manufacturers.
Zero-day exploits are only the tip of the iceberg. There are also details of how the CIA had malware to turn Samsung Smart TVs into listening devices, and the ability to infect both Android and iOS devices to steal data. The spy agency also supposedly has the ability to circumvent encryption used by popular messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp.
The US consulate in Frankfurt, Germany was also implicated as a headquarters for cyberattacks against targets in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The location also allowed agents to freely move within the special Shengen area; which provides unrestricted travel across several European countries.
One thing of note is that these CIA tools are apparently not classified, meaning that they are not official government secrets. This has the effect reducing the agency’s ability to clamp down on the leaks; since they are technically open to the public. However, it also indicates that the spy agency was keeping these activities secret from other branches of the US government.
Classified materials would have to be shared with the president and his administration, something that the CIA clearly did not do. The implication of this is as of yet unknown, but Wikileaks says that it had the effect of the spies working without any checks on their activities.