WikiLeaks vows to share CIA ‘cyberweapons’ so tech firms can fix holes

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Wikileaks'
Wikileaks' "Vault 7" data dump allegedly reveals CIA hacking tools used to compromise iPhones, Android phones and other devices.
Image: Gordon Johnson/Pixabay

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has vowed to give technology firms like Apple access to the CIA’s “cyberweapons” arsenal so they can develop fixes that make our devices more secure.

Earlier this week, thousands of leaked documents and files revealed the full extent of the CIA’s cyber attacks on smartphones, computers and even smart TVs. WikiLeaks says the spy agency has lost control of it all in a “historic act of devastating incompetence.”

Since the dump, several tech firms have reached out to WikiLeaks, seeking more information about the tools being used by the CIA to break into consumer gadgets. The site redacted lots of valuable data before publishing its findings.

With access to this information, anyone who knew how to use it could take advantage of the same holes exploited by the CIA to install malware, viruses, trojans and other “weaponized” software on people’s devices.

The best way to avoid that, Assange says, is to provide tech firms like Apple, Google and Microsoft with exclusive access to the “technical details” so they can develop patches that bolster devices’ security.

The CIA told USA Today that it is prohibited from conducting electronic surveillance on U.S. citizens, and that it “does not do so.”

Spokesman Dean Boyd also questioned Assange’s “truth and integrity,” and said that despite the efforts of WikiLeaks, the CIA “continues to aggressively collect foreign intelligence overseas to protect America from terrorists, hostile nation states and other adversaries.”

But according to the leaked documents, the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence has more than 5,000 registered users who have produced over a thousand hacking systems used to remotely control smart devices and turn them into covert microphones.

According to Assange and WikiLeaks, the agency recently “lost control of its entire cyberweapons arsenal,” giving the possessor “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.”

“This is an historic act of devastating incompetence to have created such an arsenal and stored it all in one place and not secured it,” Assange said.

Meanwhile, FBI director James Comey today warned that “absolute privacy” does not exist in America, and that “there is no place outside of judicial reach.” With good reason, the government has access to your data, your conversations and even your memories, he said.