Monday, March 13, 2017

SPY SECRETS - WikiLeaks Puts America at Risk

"WikiLeaks publishes purported CIA cyber tools for hacking phones, TVs" PBS NewsHour 3/7/2017

aka WikiLeaks, a Terrorist Support Group


SUMMARY:  WikiLeaks published thousands of pages on Tuesday of what it says are files about the CIA and its hacking activities.  The material comes reportedly from the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence and includes a range of documents which describe cyber tools for hacking cellphones, computers, television and even vehicles.  Jeffrey Brown speaks Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times about the revelations.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  The material comes from the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence.  It includes a range of documents from 2013 to 2016 which describe cyber-tools for hacking cell phones, computers, television, and even vehicles.

The documents also contain computer code.  One program, dubbed Weeping Angel, entails infecting Samsung smart TVs, turning them into bugging devices.  Another program is aimed at hacking Apple and Android cell phones, undercutting encryption on services like WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram.

WikiLeaks also says these documents show that when the CIA discovered flaws in computer code written by Apple, Google, or Samsung, [and] it failed to notify those companies about the vulnerabilities to allow fixes to be made.

Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times has been covering this, and joins us now.

Mark, welcome to you.

So, the CIA hasn't said much so far.  What do we know about the authenticity of the documents and where they came from?

MARK MAZZETTI, The New York Times:  Well, we're still trying to confirm the authenticity.

We have several people we have spoken to today who say they believe they're authentic.  We have heard nothing thus far from the government indicating that they are not.  Some people we have spoken to have said that some of the code names that were cited in the documents are, indeed, legitimate.

So it does appear at the moment — and I should say at the moment — that they are legitimate.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Well, when you look at the totality, Mark, of all of these cyber-tools that being described, help us understand, what are they aimed at?  What is this program about?

MARK MAZZETTI:  Well, they're a series of — and we're talking about thousands of documents that are laying out some of the tools the CIA allegedly has to carry out hacking of any number of different devices (as you said, [for example]  cars) against foreign adversaries or people overseas.

I should stress that there is — unlike the Snowden disclosures, there were not specific mentions of where these have been used.  But they're more sort of like the toolkit the CIA has.  And it's pretty expansive, if the documents are to be believed.

And in terms of where they came from, you asked.  I mean, that's another thing we're still trying to figure out.  WikiLeaks said today that they had a source come to them who was concerned about the use of these tools.  We don't know anything about the source.  And there's a lot of questions still at the moment.

"Panetta: WikiLeaks dump of hacking documents 'seriously damaging' to CIA" PBS NewsHour 3/8/2017


SUMMARY:  A day after WikiLeaks published documents on the CIA's tools for hacking into personal electronics, Reuters reported that intelligence officials are focused on contractors as the likeliest source of the leak.  How is the CIA likely responding to the revelations?  Former CIA Director Leon Panetta joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the consequences for counterterrorism efforts and more.

"When smart devices are always on, vulnerability may be a trade-off of convenience" PBS NewsHour 3/9/2017


SUMMARY:  WikiLeaks' release of a trove of documents about the CIA's ability to breach smartphone and TV encryption was a revelation of potential vulnerabilities that surprised many.  Hari Sreenivasan separates fact from fiction about their capabilities to take advantage of those devices with Brian Barrett, news editor of Wired, and how to be mindful about the reality of today's “internet of things.”

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