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Suspect in Leak of CIA Hacking Tools Identified by U.S.

The US government has identified a suspect in the 2017 leak of a large portion of the Central Intelligence Agencys computer hacking arsenal, the cyber-tools the agency had used to conduct spying operations overseas, the media reported.

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Hacking (representative image), Pixabay

The US government has identified a suspect in the 2017 leak of a large portion of the Central Intelligence Agencys computer hacking arsenal, the cyber-tools the agency had used to conduct spying operations overseas, the media reported.

But despite months of investigation, prosecutors had been unable to bring charges against the 29-year-old man, who was identified on Tuesday as a former CIA employee being held in a Manhattan jail on unrelated charges, the Washington Post reported.

Joshua Adam Schulte, who worked in the CIA’s Engineering Development Group tasked with designing computer codes to spy on foreign adversaries, was behind the “Vault 7” leaks of top-secret CIA information, the daily said.

He is believed to have provided the confidential data to WikiLeaks.

According to the Post, federal prosecutors obtained a search warrant in 2017 for personal computers and hand-written notes from his apartment, but no evidence linking Schulte to the disclosure was found.

A government prosecutor disagreed with what he called the “characterisation” by Schulte’s attorney that “those search warrants haven’t yielded anything that is consistent with (Schulte’s) involvement in that disclosure”.

According to the Post, federal prosecutors obtained a search warrant in 2017 for personal computers and hand-written notes from his apartment, but no evidence linking Schulte to the disclosure was found.
U.S. Flag. Pixabay

But the prosecutor, Matthew Laroche, an assistant US attorney in New York, said that the government has not brought an indictment, and that the investigation “is ongoing” and Schulte “remains a target of that investigation,” according to a court transcript of the January 8 hearing that escaped public notice at the time.

Part of that investigation, Laroche said, was analysing whether a technology known as Tor, which allows Internet users to hide their location, “was used in transmitting classified information”.

Schulte said in a statement to the Post that he was innocent, arguing that the CIA targeted him because he was the only member of his team to leave the agency after reporting “incompetent management” to its inspector general.

“Due to these unfortunate coincidences the FBI ultimately made the snap judgment that I was guilty of the leaks and targeted me,” Schulte said.

He is currently in custody for “possessing, receiving and transporting child pornography”, according to an indictment lodged in September. He has pleaded not guilty.

Also Read: Black Box: A Chip That Makes Hacking Impossible

According to certain current and former intelligence officials the Vault 7 disclosures could cause more damage than those done by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

During his tenure at NSA, Snowden downloaded tens of thousands of classified top secret US documents. (IANS)

Next Story

Twitter Apologises After Admitting Of Sharing User Data

Twitter admits to user data leak, apologises

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twitter, white swan, suicide, awareness
Twitter is a social media app that encourages short tweets and brief conversations. Pixabay

Owing to the breach to recently identified privacy flaws and regretting the outcome, micro-blogging site Twitter has admitted to having inadvertently shared user data with advertising and third-party partners.

According to a blog post published by Twitter on Tuesday, the user information that may have been shared without people’s permission include country code, details of users’ engagement with the ad and information about the ad.

Mainly, information of users who interacted with certain ads concerning mobile applications or ads based on inferences Twitter made about the device that users were using in May and September 2018, has been shared without user permission.

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User data has been compromised, Twitter admits. Pixabay

“The data involved stayed within Twitter and did not contain things like passwords, email accounts, etc,” the post said.

The company has said that the issue was fixed on August 5 — almost a year after the leak happened.

“We know you will want to know if you were personally affected, and how many people in total were involved. We are still conducting our investigation to determine who may have been impacted,” the post added.

The micro-blogging site has advised users to check their settings for now.

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Twitter has admitted to having shared user data with third-party partners. Pixabay

“You trust us to follow your choices and we failed here. We’re sorry this happened, and are taking steps to make sure we don’t make a mistake like this again,” the post noted.

Also Read: Eating More Plant-Based Foods Link to Better Heart Health

As of now, further details like data of how many users have been leaked and what could be the repercussion remain undisclosed from Twitter’s end.

Especially after the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal broke out that revealed that Facebook compromised personal data of thousands of its users, tech companies including Google and Amazon have come under intense scrutiny in recent years. (IANS)