WikiLeaks Unloads CIA ‘Dumbo’ Vault 7 Tool For Hijacking Webcams

Another hacking tool used by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been revealed by WikiLeaks, the non-profit organization that often publishes secret documents obtained by anonymous sources. The latest set of documents comes from Wikileaks' Vault 7 collection of CIA malware tools and describes a utility for access webcams and microphones on certain Windows systems.

Called Dumbo, the tool was not developed for spying on targets but to corrupt recordings from webcams and microphones where the deployment a special group within the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence could be compromised. It essentially allows an agent to cover his or her tracks. One of the documents related to Dumbo that is dated June 25, 2012, reveals that agents requested Dumbo's capabilities to "deter home security systems that may identify officers or prevent operations."


There are some limitations to the tool. Dumbo requires physical access to a PC. It only works with 32-bit versions of Windows XP and later, and not 64-bit builds, or at least that was the case as of version 3.0 released in 2015. It is not clear if the program has been updated since then to support 64-bit builds or other OSes.

Dumbo also requires administrative privileges. It resides on a USB thumb drive that must be plugged into a PC, versus being activated remotely. Once plugged in, Dumbo identifies installed webcams and microphones, both locally and those that are connected by way of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth wireless connection.

"All processes related to the detected devices (usually recording, monitoring or detection of video/audio/network streams) are also identified and can be stopped by the operator. By deleting or manipulating recordings the operator is aided in creating fake or destroying actual evidence of the intrusion operation," WikiLeaks explains.

This is not likely to be the last set of documents from Vault 7 that WikiLeaks releases to the public. The entire collection consists of thousands of documents outlining various tools used by the CIA, including hacks for Linux and macOS, and intercepting SMS text messages.