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Wikileaks has published a series of documents – over 8,000 – that describe a dedicated unit within the CIA that develops and obtains malware with the ability to access devices.
Though they cover a range of platforms – the majority focus on Apple’s iOS devices due to their proliferation amongst a range of individuals including political, diplomatic and business elites.
The documents have been released, Wikileaks says, because the CIA has “lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation,” largely due to the range and number of government hackers and contractors that worked for a period of time within the organization.
Though those individuals were at one point authorized, the collection of documentation, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, has been shared amongst those that are not. One of these individuals shared portions of the archive with Wikileaks.
The leaks describe the branch of the CIA known as the Center for Cyber Intelligence as a “second NSA.”
“Such is the scale of the CIA’s undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized 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 concern is that individuals with nefarious intent could get hold of this code and use to it exploit users. One of the goals of the malware was to turn devices into “cover microphones.”
So, should iPhone and iPad users be worried? Responding to the information, which was picked up by 9to5Mac, one Twitter user claimed there is currently no evidence of working iOS malware yet. We’ll update the story if this changes.
— Will Strafach (@chronic) March 7, 2017