Hackers turn our gadgets against us, plus our favorite supercharged routers on The CultCast

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The CIA just made it easier to hack your Camera Roll nudies.
The CIA just made it easier to hack your Camera Roll nudies.
Photo: Nvidia

This week on The CultCast: The CIA loses control of its iPhone-hacking arsenal, and computer crooks turn your gadgets against you. Plus: Why iPhone 8 may arrive later than you hoped; our favorite Apple AirPort replacement routers; and we discuss the non-Apple gear we’re currently obsessing over in an all-new and aptly named “What We’re Into.”

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This week’s links

WikiLeaks: CIA lost control of its iPhone hacking arsenal

  • The Central Intelligence Agency has been using malware to spy on iPhone and Android users, according to the largest-ever publication of confidential documents from WikiLeaks — and the spy tools are now in the hands of others.
  • “This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.”
  • As part of a covert hacking program, the CIA created a “malware arsenal” and dozens of “zero day exploits” to infiltrate smartphones, tablets and even smart TVs to extract data and turn them into covert microphones.
  • But the agency recently lost controls of these tools. Those who have obtained them now have “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA” at their disposal, according to WikiLeaks.
  • At the end of 2016, the CIA’s hacking division was made up of more than 5,000 “registered users” who had produced over a thousand tools to infiltrate target devices throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States.
  • iOS devices were also a major target. The CIA created and obtained tools from GCHQ, NSA, FBI and contractors like Baitshop that allowed them to bypass the encryption used by apps like WhatsApp and Telegram and collect audio and text message data.,

Global elites’ love of iPhone made iOS a prime target of CIA

  • Although Google’s Android dominates the worldwide smartphone market, the CIA concentrated on Apple’s iOS because of its popularity among global elites, WikiLeaks reports.
  • Despite iPhone’s minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA’s Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads.
  • The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.

Famous jailbreaker says WikiLeaks CIA dump is overhyped

  • Cyber security expert Will Strafach, who gained notoriety under the name Chronic for finding zero-day exploits used for jailbreaking, says iOS users don’t need to be worried.
  • “I do not believe any iOS user running iOS 10+ has any cause for concern by this,” Strafach told Cult of Mac in an email after we asked for his expert opinion on Tuesday’s big CIA leak.
  • Apple is saying that ‘many’ of the exploits exposed in the leak have been patched…. “Many”

Curved OLED displays will be exclusive to premium iPhone 8

  • Sources claim the new 5.8-inch curved display will only be available with the high-end iPhone, while the more affordable 4.7- and 5.5-inch models will carry LCD panels similar to those Apple has been using since the iPhone’s introduction in 2007.
  • If the other two models are sticking with 4.7- and 5.5-inch displays, this suggests they’ll retain their physical Home buttons, too.
  • “By adding more large-screen options to the lineup to meet growing demand for BIG, Apple intends to raise the average iPhone price, which has already gone up by about 10% in the past three years to nearly $700”

2017’s ‘iPhone Edition’ to arrive late, OLED display uncertain

  • We’ve all been calling it the iPhone 8 for months, but according to a new report out of Japan, Apple’s tenth anniversary smartphone will be named “iPhone Edition.”/li>
  • Apple is expected to deliver improved versions of its 4.7- and 5.5-inch devices, plus a more premium model with a 5.8-inch OLED display. According to Japanese blog Macotakara, which has been accurate in the past, this handset will be named iPhone Edition.
  • Although it will almost certainly be unveiled in September alongside its siblings, it is believed the iPhone Edition won’t go on sale until later in the year. Apple is said to be experimenting with various prototypes of the device, each with a different display setup.
  • The report suggests that Apple is still a long way away from deciding on a final design for the iPhone Edition, though it has nailed down a few features — including wireless charging and a dual camera setup similar to that of iPhone 7 Plus.That’s all the CultCast we’ve got for you this week

Gear we talked about:

  • Nintendo Switch and Zelda Breath of The Wild
  • Netgear R6700
  • Netgear Orbi
  • Priority Continuum bike