A series of documents released by Wikileaks on Tuesday have claimed that Central Intelligence agency are using sophisticated software tools to hack into Android and iOS smartphones and other electronic devices. The Indian Express has not independently verified the documents. As per the press release by the Wikileaks, the CIA document reveals details ways in which it can hack into electronic devices connected to the internet.
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If the authenticity of the documents is verified, it confirms the investigative agency has tools to get information from one’s phone, smart TV, computer and router. It would also represent yet another catastrophic breach for the US intelligence community at the hands of WikiLeaks.
The information provided by Wikileaks indicate that CIA can also bypass into one’s WhatsApp encryption and read private messages. This is possible because the CIA is not hacking the applications, but in fact, it is hacking the device. Whistleblower Edward Snowden also clarified the difference in a tweet and described it as “a much bigger problem”.
PSA: This incorrectly implies CIA hacked these apps / encryption. But the docs show iOS/Android are what got hacked – a much bigger problem. https://t.co/Bw9AkBpOdt
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) 7 March 2017
Speaking to The New York Times on the authenticity of the documents, a CIA spokesperson said, “We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents.” Snowden on Twitter claimed that the documents appear to be authentic and provided reasons for his judgement. “What makes this look real? Program & office names, such as the JQJ (IOC) crypt series, are real. Only a cleared insider could know them,” the former NSA contractor said.
Snowden also said the it is dangerous as it gives free reigns to hackers to break into any smartphones in the world. “Why is this dangerous? Because until closed, any hacker can use the security hole the CIA left open to break into any iPhone in the world,” he wrote on Twitter.
(With inputs from AP)