By de Andréa,
Opinion Editorialist for
‘THE BOTTOM LINE’
Posted March 8, 2017
Yesterday, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks began its new series of leaks on what the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is up to. Code-named "Vault 7 on agency. 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents.
Is this what George Orwell was trying to tell us in the 1956 film called 1984? The Samsung TV malware detailed in the documents is code named “Weeping Angel.” Is the Deep Shadow Government of “Big Brother” truly watching and/or listening to us?
The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligencein Langley, Virginia. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election. And we point the finger at the Russians for hacking the DNC.
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. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's IPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.
Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force — its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities. And the next time I see one of those drones flying over my house, I will shoot it down.
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.
In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that "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."
Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.
Wikileaks has also decided to redactand anonymize some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include tens of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one (“Year Zero”) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks
Julian Assange claims that documents are the most comprehensive CIA release ever and are far larger than the Snowden files
WikiLeaks has publisheda huge trove of what appear to be CIA spying secrets.
The files are the most comprehensive release of US spying files ever made public, according to Julian Assange. In all, there are 8,761 documents that account for "the entire hacking capacity of the CIA", Mr Assange claimed in a release, and the trove is just the first of a series of "Vault 7" leaks.
Already, the files include far more pages than the Snowden files that exposed the vast hacking power of the NSA and other agencies.
In publishing the documents, WikiLeaks had ensured that the CIA had "lost control of its arsenal", he claimed. That included a range of software and exploits that if real could allow unparalleled control of computers around the world.
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It includes software that could allow people to take control of the most popular consumer electronics products used today, claimed WikiLeaks.
"'Year Zero' introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones," the organization said in a release.
The public files don't include the cyber weapons themselves, according to a statement. The organization will refrain from distributing "armed" software "until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published", it said.
The files were made available by a source who intended for them to start a conversation about whether the CIA had gained too much power, according to the organization.
"In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency," a release read. "The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons."
It also redacts the details of some of the names, locations and targets that are identified in the documents.
The organisation had teased the release in advance with strange messages about the release being "Year Zero", and references to "Vault 7". It had planned to release the files later on but that plan was thrown off when its press conference came under cyber attack, Mr Assange claimed.
THE BOTTOM LINE: This appears to me not so much as a leak but more like the Snowden files, blowing the whistle on an out of control Gestapo agency. And don’t think I am totally ignorant about national security and the necessity of a counter intelligence agency. While in the military I was part of a contract operative to the CIA and now I am questioning some of the missions that we were involved in.
Note: WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit media organization. The goal is to bring important news and information to the public. To provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to our journalists (our electronic drop box). One of the most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth. It is a young organization that has grown very quickly, relying on a network of dedicated volunteers around the globe. Since 2007, when the organization was officially launched, WikiLeaks has worked to report on and publish important information.
Thanks for listening my friend! Now go do the right thing and fight for freedom.
- de Andréa
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