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Published: Thu, March 09, 2017
Technology | By Tonya May

WikiLeaks releases 'chilling' documents on Central Intelligence Agency snooping


WikiLeaks has said it obtained the trove of documents from one of the former U.S. government hackers and contractors among whom the files had circulated in an unauthorized manner.

Whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone, spooks from America's spy agency can hack it, siphon off your conversations and messages, and secretly turn on your phone's camera and microphone to spy on you.

Uncle Sam's spies have discovered and obtained from government branches including the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation "numerous" ways - unknown to phone makers - to get into phones' systems, WikiLeaks said.

All these technologies were developed by the CIA's Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) which works in the possibility of remotely hack and control smartphones like the popular iPhone or Android Operating System devices.

In a statement reported by BuzzFeed News, Apple said it is aware of numerous vulnerabilities and has already patched them.

Wikileaks' disclosure of what it claims are wide-ranging Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools is hardly likely to surprise anyone in the post-Snowden world we now live in.

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Some of the Android exploits were developed by the CIA, while others came from the U.S. National Security Agency, U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ, and cyber arms dealers, according to the trove of documents released Tuesday. 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.

The trove was circulated among USA government contractors, WikiLeaks said, one of whom provided it to the organization.

The published files don't include CIA's cyber weapons themselves, according to the statement.

Signal and WhatsApp have not responded to a request for comment by CNBC.

WikiLeaks has always been known for disclosing confidential information related to various schemes and exploits from famous groups and organizations, but today it revealed a whole trove of intelligence that makes it feel like we might really be living in George Orwell's "1984".

"Year Zero", Wikileaks writes, "introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits" against vulnerabilities in smartphones, computers, and Samsung smart TVs. "End-to-end encryption has pushed intelligence agencies away from undetected and unfettered mass surveillance to where they have to use high-risk and targeted attacks".

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