If the CIA wants to peer inside your digital life, it’ll find a way, no matter what you’ve done to protect yourself.
That’s the basic message inherent in a trove of documents dumped by Wikileaks Tuesday that allegedly exposes a slew of CIA hacking techniques.
Wikileaks claims this document dump is the first in a series it’s calling "Vault 7." The group says it’s the largest release of documents pertaining to the CIA in the agency’s history.
"Year Zero," the title of the first release, contains 8,761 documents that allegedly come from "an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence" at its headquarters in Langley, Virgina.
"’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," Wikileaks wrote in a press release announcing the trove of documents.
According to the release, the CIA can also "bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman."
The press release paints a picture of bureaucratic rivalry between the CIA and the NSA, both known for covert spying operations of one kind or another. Wikileaks alleges the CIA has achieved "political and budgetary preeminence" over its rival and built a world-class hacking team so it no longer has to rely on the NSA.
If the allegations in the press release are true, they should send chills down the spines of anyone who had the fanciful idea they could avoid government spies with encrypted chat apps.
That is far from the only stunning item in the release as well as the documents. Wikileaks, of course, has had significant credibility issues since it began to align itself with President Donald Trump during his campaign for the presidency against rival Hillary Clinton.
Mashable will be working to verify specific claims in the documents to the best of our ability.