WikiLeaks releases documents allegedly describing Central Intelligence Agency hacking programs

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The 8,761 document dump has been published as part of Year Zero", the first part in a series of leaks on the agency that Wikileaks has dubbed "Vault 7'. We haven't yet independently verified the information. "The archive appears to have been circulated among former USA government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive", they write.

What do I need to know?

That's basically all the things you own that are connected to the internet. A number of news outlets reported that the documents revealed that Signal, WhatsApp, and other messaging apps that use high-level encryption to ensure that messages are sent and received safely had been compromised.

The hacking and malware tools are built by the Engineering Development Group, a department of the CIA's Directorate for Digital Innovation. But again, that's if the info is real. If accurate, it means that these services aren't almost as secure as they would have you believe.

The collection of intelligence reveals tools such as CIA-developed malware, named things such as "Assassin" and "Medusa" that are meant to target iPhones, Android phones, smart TVs, and Microsoft, Mac, and Linux operating systems among others.

The CIA did not return repeated messages seeking comment, but WikiLeaks has a long track record of releasing top secret government documents.

Who else might be able to spy on us with these tools?

WikiLeaks today released what it termed as the biggest-ever leak of confidential documents from the CIA, claiming the Americas premier spy agency partnered with foreign intelligence agencies to turn TVs and smartphones into weapons for surveillance.

How did it hack these devices?

We're still not sure. So far, Apple, Google and Motorola have each declined to comment.

WikiLeaks, in a statement, said: "The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom's MI5/BTSS".

The weapon reportedly creates a "fake off" mode, making the user think the TV is off.

He went on to elaborate why he believed the information - which centred around allegations that the CIA's covert program allowed it to crack into iPhones, Androids and even Samsung TVs - was credible.

Are these hacks still in use?

WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever batch of confidential documents on the Central Intelligence Agency.

Among the software targeted were both major mobile operating systems, iOS and Android, and desktop-software Windows and macOS.

Williams, who has experience dealing with government hackers, said the voluminous files' extensive references to operation security meant they were nearly certainly government-backed.

But WikiLeaks claims that documents it obtained show that through a program called Weeping Angel, the target TV appears to be off when it is actually on - and listening.

This is a developing story that we'll be following closely. Check back for updates.