Items tagged with CIA

The United States government and Chinese telecommunications company Huawei have a strained relationship. The US Department of Justice and various member of Congress have accused Huawei of spying on behalf of the Chinese government and committing a variety of crimes, while Huawei has accused the US government of launching a smear campaign. Now the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has thrown its hat into the ring. The CIA claims that Huawei is directly funded by the Chinese government. The National Defense Authorization Act prohibits American government agencies from using products from Huawei and their smaller competitor ZTE. Huawei has been accused of spying on behalf of the Chinese... Read more...
Every so often, WikiLeaks publishes top-secret documents outlining various hacking tools and malware used by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Most of the documents we have seen are presumably outdated, but for obvious reasons, the CIA would still like to keep them under lock and key. The agency would also like to arrest the person responsible for providing the documents to Wikileaks, and has identified a possible suspect. That person is Joshua Adam Schulte, a former employee of a CIA group tasked with programming code to spy on foreign threats, The Washington Post reports. Federal prosecutors identified Schulte as a suspect during a hearing in January, noting that he provided... Read more...
US Intelligence officials have determined that phones and services provided by Huawei, a Chinese smartphone manufacturer in China, and Chinese telecom ZTE pose a security risk to Americans, and that consumers should avoid both companies altogether. The determination was made known by half a dozen US intelligence chiefs, each of which told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that Americans should steer clear of both companies. Among the six top intelligence chiefs were the heads of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and National Security Agency (NSA), along with the director of national intelligence. At first, they all indicated a lack of trust... Read more...
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has grown to be the leading player in on-demand cloud computing across the internet, and provides a sizable stream of revenue for the retail giant. AWS has a number of premier clients for its services including Google and even Comcast. However, AWS is furthering its reach into the lucrative government sector by expanding its GovCloud. The new AWS “Secret Region” will provide cloud services to U.S. intelligence agencies -- including the CIA -- at the “secret” security classification level. For inquiring minds, that is a step below the "top secret" designation. According to Amazon, the Secret Region will also be available to non-Intelligence... Read more...
The latest documents from Vault 7, a collection of confidential materials related to hacking tools used by the United States Central Intelligence Agency and obtained by WikiLeaks, was made public today by the whistle blowing organization. This newest leak details the CIA's Angelfire project, which is a persistent framework that can load and execute custom malware on computers running Windows XP and Windows 7.Angelfire consists of five components, including Solartime, Wolfcreek, Keystone (previously MagicWand), BadMFS,a nd the Windows Transitory File system. Each of these parts has a distinct job. It starts with Solartime, which modifies the partition boot sector so that when Windows fires up... Read more...
WikiLeaks, the non-profit organization that publishes secret information provided by anonymous sources, released details about a tool that was used by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to ensure that other government intelligence agencies were sharing the biometric information they collected. That includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). That's right, the CIA has (or had) a tool to spy on the government's spy agencies. The tool is called ExpressLane and it would be installed and run under the cover of upgrading the biometric software by intelligence officials who visit liaison sites. ExpressLane... Read more...
Here we go again. WikiLeaks, the international non-profit whistleblower that publishes secret information to the web, has been dumping classified documents outlining various hacking tools and malware used by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. These documents are part of what WikiLeaks calls Vault 7, the latest of which contains information on the CIA's "CouchPotato" tool. According to WikiLeaks, CouchPotato is a remote tool for intercepting video streams as either an AVI video file or capturing still images of frames from the stream as JPEGs, presumably to save space. In the latter case, CouchPotato is able to analyze and detect when a frame of video is significantly different from... Read more...
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... Read more...
For the past several months, WikiLeaks has been publishing information related to exploits and hacking tools that had been used by the United States government at some point. The project is known as Vault 7 and seems to contain mostly older exploits, though it is not clear if some of the malware has been updated for modern platforms. Not all of it is aimed at Windows. In fact, the latest documents reference macOS and Linux hacks that were part of the US Central Intelligence Agency's Imperial program.Image Source: Flickr (Tony Webster)The first of these is called Achilles. According to the documentation, it is a capability that gives an operator the ability to infect a target's OS X disk image... Read more...
WikiLeaks has published another set of leaked documents from the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This latest leak is part of WikiLeaks' Vault 7 batch and details a malicious app for Android devices called HighRise. Also called TideCheck, this app allows a remote hacker to redirect or intercept SMS text messages that are sent to a target's cellular phone, and have those communications forwarded to a remote web server.This appears to be an old tool that was used by the CIA, or at least the version described in the leaked documents is an older piece of malware. The accompanying manual is dated December 16, 2013, and describes a tool that was designed to work on mobile handsets running... Read more...
Another day, another government spying exploit rises to the surface courtesy of Wikileaks, this time originating from the CIA. This WikiLeaks data dump specifically lets us know of a CIA-engineered spying tool called OutlawCountry (no space), which, interestingly enough, explicitly targets Linux users. You know, those digital freedom loving passionate penguin peeps that appreciate having great control over their computer? But don't worry, the CIA has targeted Windows users en masse in the past as well; absolutely no one has proven safe and they obviously don't discriminate. OutlawCountry starts out as a Linux kernel module (nf_table_6_64.ko) that gets loaded into the system and... Read more...
WikiLeaks has published secret documents belonging to the United States government that reveal the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been building and maintaining cyber tools designed to compromise wireless routers. These tools are the work of the CIA's hacking unit called Engineering Development Group. Among them is a specialized firmware referred to as Cherry Blossom. "The wireless device itself is compromized by implanting a customized Cherry Blossom firmware on it; some devices allow upgrading their firmware over a wireless link, so no physical access to the device is necessary for a successful infection. Once the new firmware on the device is flashed, the router or access point will... Read more...
WikiLeaks has posted its latest release from the Vault 7 series of CIA-related leaks that exposes a tool dubbed “Athena”, which acts as a beacon on compromised Windows-based systems and gives the agency remote loader capabilities as well.Athena and its associated tools function on all versions of Windows from XP through Windows 10. There is a secondary implementation named “Hera” for Windows 8 and newer systems, due to some underlying changes Microsoft made to the OSes, which offers all of the same capabilities. All told, Athena / Hera provides a beaconing capability with remote configuration and task handling. The tools also provide memory loading / unloading of NOD Persistence Specification... Read more...
WikiLeaks isn’t done exposing the CIA’s arsenal of hacking tools used to infiltrate computer systems around the globe. Last month, we told you about Weeping Angel, which targeted select Samsung Smart TVs for surveillance purposes. Today, we’re learning about Archimedes, which attacks computers attached to a Local Area Network (LAN). Although we have no way of knowing whether Archimedes is still in use by the CIA, the details of how it is unleashed on unsuspecting parties has been revealed in full. In its teaser announcing the exploit, WikiLeaks writes, “It allows the re-directing of traffic from the target computer inside the LAN through a computer infected with this malware and controlled by... Read more...
Back in early March, WikiLeaks gave the world an early glimpse into just a small sample of the hacking arsenal at the disposal of the CIA. As part of WikiLeaks’ “Vault 7” dump, we were made privy to software hacks that targeted Android- and iOS-based smartphones, Windows- and OS X-based PCs and even Samsung smart TVs. Today, WikiLeaks released the CIA’s actual user guide for “Weeping Angel”, the exploit use to hack Samsung smart TVs. We’ve also learned that Weeping Angel is actually based on another piece of malware, “Extending”, that was developed by the British MI5 spy agency. Weeping Angel (and Extending) are capable of tapping into a Samsung smart TV’s internal microphone, where it can then... Read more...
The latest bombshell to come out of WikiLeaks’ Vault7 series of leaks from the CIA, exposes a tool codenamed “Grasshopper”, which allows operatives to deploy persistent surveillance and hacking payloads on target Windows-based computer systems and remain undetected from popular anti-malware and anti-virus tools.WikiLeaks has an array of documentation on-line, including an in-depth user’s guide for Grasshopper. The user’s guide explains that Grasshopper is “a software tool used to build custom installers for target computers running Microsoft Windows operating systems”, which seems straightforward enough, and quite frankly the kind of thing you’d expect an intelligence agency to have... Read more...
Are you worried about the CIA cyber-espionage toolkit that was just revealed on Tuesday? Well, Julian Assange apparently has your back. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, recently promised that his organization would help companies like Apple, Google and Samsung to defend themselves against the hacking tools -- the very tools that the organization is set to unleash in full to the world. Assange remarked that "We have decided to work with them, to give them some exclusive access to some of the technical details we have, so that fixes can be pushed out." Many of the exploits are currently under wraps so that they do not get into the wrong hands. Smaller exploits could take a few days... Read more...
Several technology firms have issued statements after Wikileaks published a massive cache of documents alleging that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had developed methods to hack popular electronics devices, including iPhones, Android handsets, and Samsung smart TVs. Dubbed "Vault 7," the data dump is considered the largest public reveal of confidential documents related to the CIA.If the documents are real, they contain detailed exploits on popular devices that would allow the CIA to snoop on users and even take control of gadgets. The documents, which are dated between 2013 and 2016, purportedly include a variety of exploits, including those the United States government developed on its... Read more...
It appears that WikiLeaks has struck the motherlode. The non-profit organization, which has gained notoriety over the years for publishing secretive and often classified information, has just revealed a massive information dump of files obtained from within the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). WikiLeaks has named this latest information release ‘Vault 7’ and it includes over 8,700 classified documents that were obtained from the CIA Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), which is located in Langley, Virginia. The first question that we asked ourselves when presented with this information was simply “How?” Well, you can blame unscrupulous government contractors and hackers that have made... Read more...
It looks as though the National Security Agency (NSA) crown jewels are about to be fondled by the rest of America’s intelligence agencies. The NSA monitors and collects various types of communications including emails, phone calls, and even transmissions conducted by our foreign allies (and foes). As we learned from the the Edward Snowden leaks, this information is stored in bulk and is one of the reasons for the ever-increasing use of encryption in our smartphones (see Apple vs FBI). Historically, the data collected has mainly been kept within the halls of the NSA and only offered to other intelligence agencies — i.e. the CIA and the FBI — after being scrubbed of “irrelevant” identifiable personal... Read more...
It was revealed several months ago that the U.S. Marshal Service secretly uses spy planes equipped with devices that mimic cell towers to scan for and harvest cellphone information on a mass scale. Now it's being reported that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) played a key role in helping the Justice Department develop the technology that's capable of scanning data from thousands of cellphones at a time.Let's back up a moment. As originally reported by a number of news outlets, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was clueless of the spy program that the Department of Justice (DoJ) won't even admit exists, at least not formally. However, the DoJ did defend the legality of the program... Read more...
Thanks to the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, we know that the United States government has in place a sophisticated and all-encompassing spying program, and as time goes on, additional details leak out that underscore how little privacy we truly have. Whether it's intercepting Skype communications or tampering with hard drives, the concept of privacy is fast becoming an illusion. So, would it really be surprising to find out that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been working for years to exploit Apple's iPhone and iPad devices?It's true, according to The Intercept, which claims to have obtained "top-secret documents." Assuming they're real, the documents point to an annual meeting... Read more...
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