I’m waiting for the media to chime in regarding the latest data dump from Wikileaks. I’m sure they’ll claim that Julian Assange coordinated once again with his Russky buddy Vlad, and therefore none of it can be trusted.
Over 8,700 pages were uploaded by Wikileaks – dubbed ‘Vault 7, Part 1’ and titled ‘Year Zero – on the CIA and its myriad of covert hacking operations that allow them to hack into smart phones, smart TVs, iPads, computers, even vehicles. There’s not enough room or time here to mention all the things the CIA has been up to the last couple years, and I imagine that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Eight thousand pages is a lot to get through, so expect to see articles churning out on the subject the more people delve into what Wikileaks released.
When Trump complained that the previous administration wiretapped his phones, people on the left were absolutely horrified by the suggestion. But really, the intelligence community – in particular the NSA and CIA – have been doing this to everyone for years now. As technology becomes faster, more accessible, and its use more widespread, the NSA and CIA continue to expand their surveillance techniques and purview. Here’s a tiny taste what’s in the documents uploaded by Wikileaks:
The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, but “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.
The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.[…]
By the end of 2016, the CIA’s hacking division, which formally falls under the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other “weaponized” malware. Such is the scale of the CIA’s undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its “own NSA” with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
The following excerpt to me was quite telling, considering the media’s insistent and dogmatic narrative about Russian hackers influencing the presidential election. Some of the early documentation from the intelligence community mentioned ‘fingerprints’ that were consistent with the hacking techniques of Russians. No hard evidence was ever given. But just the idea that its unique characteristics were – as far as they could tell – characteristic of Russian hackers. Of course, the media ran wild with that.
Keeping that narrative in mind, consider this excerpt:
The CIA’s hand crafted hacking techniques pose a problem for the agency. Each technique it has created forms a “fingerprint” that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity.
This is analogous to finding the same distinctive knife wound on multiple separate murder victims. The unique wounding style creates suspicion that a single murderer is responsible. As soon one murder in the set is solved then the other murders also find likely attribution.
With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.
UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.
So, does that mean that our own CIA could have been responsible for some of the hacking – or at least fabricated evidence of hacking – and made it look like the Russians did it? It certainly leaves that possibility open.
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