WikiLeaks releases documents chronicling the CIA’s hacking weapons

Julian Assange
WikiLeaks has published documents that it claims reveal the extent of the CIA’s hacking and cyber espionage tools.

The trove, called Vault 7, is the “largest ever publication of confidential documents” on the CIA and covers activity between 2013 and 2016. WikiLeaks said it published the release as soon as possible.

It details hacking tools believed to include malware that infects Windows, OSX, Linux, Android, and iOS as well as routers and smart TVs. The New York Times reports that the data dump is made up of 7,818 web pages, 943 attachments, and several hundred million lines of code, which “gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA,” according to WikiLeaks. Some names, email addresses, and external IP addresses were redacted from the leak.

“Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation,” explained WikiLeaks in its announcement on how the data was revealed.

The CIA has not confirmed the authenticity of the leaks. The U.K. Home Office, which is implicated in the dump for allegedly creating malware that targets smart TVs, has also declined to comment.

As people begin to pour over the data dump, some particular hacking tools and techniques are coming to light. The targeting of smart TVs has garnered attention. In a document code named “Weeping Angel,” there is a method referred to as “fake-off mode,” which affects Samsung TVs and causes the screen to appear as if it has been turned off. Instead, it is surreptitiously recording audio in the room. The document even includes a to-do list of ways to improve the malware, including video capture and disabling auto upgrade.

Furthermore, the leaks show that the CIA has “weaponized” 24 Android zero-days that WikiLeaks claims would allow for the bypassing of encryption on messaging apps. However this claim has been challenged and corrected since the release by numerous experts and cryptographers, as well as by Edward Snowden.

Another document details CIA efforts to compromise computer control systems in connected cars.

WikiLeaks is questioning the reason for the extent of the CIA’s ability to develop such hacking tools and whether its capabilities go beyond its mandate.

“There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’,” said Julian Assange. “Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them, combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade.”

Since the release was published earlier today, Edward Snowden has chimed in to say that he was still working through the publication but it is “genuinely a big deal” and “looks authentic.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Upcoming iPad may lose a few millimeters, along with its headphone jack

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch aren't the last devices we'll see from Apple in 2018. There are plenty of rumors about a new iPad coming this year too, and it may share some design similarities with the new phones.
Computing

Did your Windows 10 audio stop working after the update? Microsoft has a fix

Microsoft has released a small patch for its October 2018 Update build of Windows 10 following some users facing audio issues that resulted in no sound output at all. After this fix, that problem should disappear for good.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in October, from 'Mindhunter’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Mobile

Here’s everything Google announced at its October 9 event

Google's October 2018 hardware event is over, and though it was short, it left us with an awful lot to talk about. But if you didn't catch the livestream or the updates, it's easy to catch up on the reveals.
Computing

Nvidia is slowly rolling out its next generation of GPUs. Here's what you need to know about them

Nvidia's new RTX 2000 series graphics cards are impressive pieces of hardware, with some amazing advancements and some rather high price tags to match. Here's everything you need to know about Nvidia's new top-tier cards.
Computing

Personal info of 30,000-plus Pentagon employees compromised in contractor breach

The Pentagon is facing another security problem after it was discovered that a contractor was responsible for a leak of data that affected more than 30,000 Pentagon employees, both civilian and military.
Computing

Lenovo and Dell make great professional laptops, but who does it best?

Finding the best laptop for professional use at the office, on the move, and at home is no easy task. There's plenty to choose but to find the best of the best, we pitted the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme vs. Dell XPS 15.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Emerging Tech

What the heck is machine learning, and why is it everywhere these days?

Machine learning has been responsible for some of the biggest advances in artificial intelligence over the past decade. But what exactly is it? Check out our handy beginner's guide.
Photography

Adobe’s Premiere Rush is a video-editing app designed for social media projects

At Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe unveiled updates across the board for all of its Creative Cloud apps, from the release of Premiere Rush CC, a social-focused video editor, to Project Gemini, a digital drawing and painting tool.
Computing

World’s first 49-inch, dual QHD curved monitor tops Dell’s new line of displays

Dell's world's first 49-inch dual QHD curved monitor and other new displays come packed with innovative design features and technologies aimed at meeting demands of workflows everywhere.
Computing

Updated Intel processor benchmarks still beat AMD Ryzen competitor, but by less

After some controversy, updated Principled Technologies testing shows the Intel i9-9900K with a reduced lead over the AMD Ryzen 2700X in benchmarks, and with the AMD Ryzen 2700 X seeing better performance. 
Home Theater

HDMI 2.0b is a whole lot more than just a connection to your TV

HDMI 2.0b is the backbone for many of the latest updates in 4K UHD technology. And while a new cable standard can often involve a bunch of changes for consumers, that is not the case this time around.