Last night, WikiLeaks published Vault 7, the first batch of what they claim is the largest leak of confidential CIA documents ever, revealing a mobile hacking campaign “Weeping Angel”.
WikiLeaks have published Vault 7, a very large batch of what they claim are confidential CIA documents that “prove” that the American intelligence gathering agency have software that could hack into phones, TVs and other electronics, turning them into surveillance devices.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 7, 2017
What has become known as Weeping Angel, was developed by the agency’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), that explores vulnerabilities in connected devices and gadgets to turn them into listening devices, according to Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder.
The organization said in a release that “the increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984, but “Weeping Angel”, developed by the CIA’s Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization”.
It is claimed that a Weeping Angel attack could infiltrate everything from Android smartphones to smart TVs, and even make them appear to be turned off while hacked. In that state, they could listen in on everything that people were saying around them, the report claims.
The Weeping Angel is said to have been developed in cooperation with United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS, and can put your Samsung Smart TV into a “Fake-Off” mode, where you’d believe it was off, but in fact wasn’t.
While in “Fake-Off” mode, your TV would start recording conversations happening in the room and sending them to the CIA via your own internet connection.
The documents claim that the same method could be used to break into both iPhones and Android devices, and give them access to your location, audio and text messages, as well as live feeds feeds from the phone’s microphone and camera.
Mass surveillance has become a real threat today, since it seems like everyone is always connected, everywhere. Several whistleblowers have come forward with similar leaked documents from US governmental agencies in the past few years, most notably, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.