Thousands of CIA documents published by WikiLeaks on Tuesday reveal that the Central Intelligence Agency had tools enabling them to listen to private conversation on any iPhone device.
The Vault 7 documents reveal that the CIA developed malware enabling them to turn iPhones, Android devices and Samsung smart TVs into covert listening devices.
Under the codename “Weeping Angel,” developed in co-operation with MI5, the spy agency was able to listen into private conversations held in front of a smart TV – even whilst the television set was apparently switched off.
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WikiLeaks also claims U.S. spies can bypass the encryption of apps including WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram, and that the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt, Germany is a “covert CIA hacker base” for personnel covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
WikiLeaks, which had been dropping cryptic hints about the release for a month, said in a lengthy statement that the CIA had “recently” lost control of a massive arsenal of CIA hacking tools as well as associated documentation. The radical transparency organization said that “the archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner” and that one of them “provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.”
Jonathan Liu, a spokesman for the CIA, said: “We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents.”
Williams, who has experience dealing with government hackers, said that the voluminous files’ extensive references to operation security meant they were almost certainly government-backed.
“I can’t fathom anyone fabricated that amount of operational security concern,” he said. “It rings true to me.”
“The only people who are having that conversation are people who are engaging in nation-state-level hacking,” he said.