WikiLeaks says the CIA might be able to hack your car
In the latest revelation about the powerful hacking tools of the U.S. government, WikiLeaks reveals that the government potentially uses televisions, smartphones and even cars as surveillance tools for billions of users worldwide.
On Tuesday, WikiLeaks published a group of files, “Vault 7,” that they say are linked to the CAI’s hacking operations. Vault 7 is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the CIA, according to WikiLeaks.
The first section of the group is “Year Zero,” which supposedly comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.
The documents in “Year Zero” detail the CIA’s malware arsenal and “zero day” exploits against Apple iPhones, Google’s Android operating system, Microsoft Windows and even Samsung TV’s.
The CIA capabilities described include recording the sound, images and even the private text messages of users.
“There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. 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. But the significance of “Year Zero” goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective,” said Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor.
However, these common handheld and household devices are not all that the CIA malware arsenal consists of.
According to a document from 2014, the government agency was also studying how to infect the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The CIA might use the advantage of having access to the control systems of cars and trucks to conduct “nearly undetectable assassinations,” according to WikiLeaks.
“The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations,” WikiLeaks said in its press release.
However, some consider the information released by WikiLeaks to be “old news.”
“The idea that the CIA and NSA can hack into devices is kind of old news,” said Johns Hopkins cryptography expert Matthew D. Green. “Anyone who thought they couldn’t was living in a fantasy world.”
While the purpose of infecting cars is not entirely known, WikiLeaks provided more information on the CIA’s capabilities by infecting smaller devices. An infected phone could be instructed to send the CIA the user’s geolocation, audio and text communications. The CIA could even activate the phone’s camera and microphone.
The information released by WikiLeaks has not been independently verified.