Vault 7: CIA Can Spy on People Through Their Personal Electronics

Vault 7 at Wikileaks was recently opened up. The archive revealed details about certain surveillance techniques, employed by the CIA. These technologies involve using electronic devices for spying.

Different surveillance mechanisms target different devices, including Samsung smart TVs, iPhones, and Android devices. A technique called Weeping Angel is used to turn smart TVs into microphones. You’d better not blink, for this technology can record your conversations even when your device is turned off.

Weeping Angel is a collective project of the CIA, the British MI5, and BTSS. The attacks it performs put the target in a “face-off” mode. The device does not need to be switched on in order to record the audio in the room. The recordings are sent to a CIA server.

A wide target range

The targets of the spying attacks include various devices, with personal electronics being just part of the specter. The CIA has departments whose sole purpose is to develop malware, used for hacking purposes.

The Center for Cyber Intelligence, a department within the Directorate for Digital Innovation within the CIA, has a software development group called the Engineering Development Group (EDG). The agenda of the EDG includes creating exploits, developing and testing different types of malware.

There is a division called the Mobile Devices Branch which specializes in hacking and controlling smartphones. The branch has two departments for malware development. There are separate expert groups for the iOS and the Android operating systems.

Stepping away from the common household electronics, there are different types of machines in the target list. Software technologies are used for modern cars and trucks which puts them in the target range.

The CIA has been working on ways to penetrate vehicle control systems since October 2014. The agency has not specified the purpose behind this development. According to Wikileaks, gaining control over vehicles would enable the CIA to engage in undetectable assassinations.

More revelations to come

People can expect more revelations about the technological agenda of the CIA. The technological prowess of the agency’s experts allows them to manipulate devices in various ways and use them for different purposes.

As it stands, the CIA needs malware for some of its activities. The agency’s experts create computer viruses which could be deployed in cyber crime schemes, if they fall into the wrong hands. There is always a possibility for the spyware to leak outside of the organization’s headquarters.

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