WikiLeaks Publishes Thousands of What it Says are CIA Documents

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The Tuesday cache of classified files is styled "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, and is available on their website.

The CIA has an arsenal of tools to hack iPhones, Samsung smart TVs and other devices, according to documents released by Wikileaks.

In its news release, WikiLeaks said the files enable the agency to bypass popular encryption-enabled applications - including WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram - used by millions of people to safeguard their communications.

The collection is being circulated among former U.S. government hackers, one which provided the set of hacking tools to Wikileaks, the whistleblowing site said.

The source of the documents was not named.

WikiLeaks stated that the number of published pages in "Vault 7" already eclipses "the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks".

In a trove of documents released Tuesday, WikiLeaks included code that it says shows the CIA worked with United Kingdom intelligence officials to turn microphones in TVs into listening devices, according to CBS News.

The car-related stuff stems from what appears to be October 2014 meeting notes of the CIA's "Embedded Development Branch", which WikiLeaks claims is a sect of the agency that "infests" electronic devices and transforms "them into cover microphones".

Critics have blasted WikiLeaks in recent months for broadcasting what they deemed to be politically charged disinformation during the recent USA presidential election, and for publishing hacked documents allegedly stolen by Russian agents.

Jonathan Liu, a CIA spokesman, said: "We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents".

"The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force-its own substantial fleet of hackers", WikiLeaks said in its press release.

WikiLeaks decided not to publish the weapons themselves "until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such "weapons" should analyzed, disarmed and published". A Microsoft representative said in an email: "We're aware of the report and are looking into it". (While some on Twitter have interpreted this to mean that Signal has been "broken", that isn't the case.) The dump also reportedly reveals ways in which the Central Intelligence Agency has attempted to cover its digital tracks in its hacking efforts and the location of a major base for Central Intelligence Agency hackers in Europe.

In early 2015, Samsung appeared to acknowledge the televisions posed a risk to privacy.

Also compromised, according to the documents, were Samsung smart TVs.

Bob Ayers, a retired USA intelligence official now working as a security analyst, noted that WikiLeaks has promised to release more CIA documents.

Assuming the release is authentic, it marks the latest in a series of huge leaks that have changed the landscape for government and corporate secrecy.

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