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WikiLeaks Says It Exposes CIA Hacking Program in New Document Dump

The group said the cyber tools were disseminated among some former U.S. government hackers, one of whom gave the material to Wikileaks

Representational Image, courtesy: VOA

Washngton, March 7, 2017: The online whistleblower organization WikiLeaks has published thousands of pages of what it says are confidential CIA documents that expose a massive hacking program employed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

The 8,771 documents, which were published by WikiLeaks Tuesday and dubbed “Year Zero” by the organization, encompass “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.”

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A spokesman for the CIA Jonathan Liu said the agency does not comment “on the authenticity of purported intelligence documents.”

In a statement, WikiLeaks said the CIA “lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal.” The group said the cyber tools were disseminated among some former U.S. government hackers, one of whom gave the material to Wikileaks.

“”Year Zero” introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of “zero day” weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones,” WikiLeaks said.

WikiLeaks also claims the CIA possesses a library of hacking malware employed by other states, including Russia, that it can use to leave behind false “fingerprints” to cover up its exploits and mislead investigators.

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The actual cyber weapons themselves weren’t included in the document dump, though WikiLeaks said it may release them at a later time, when “a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should be analyzed, disarmed and published.”

A scheduled press conference to announce the release was postponed after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange came under attack on social media, the group said on Twitter.

WikiLeaks said the source of the documents handed them over because they think a national conversation needs to be had about “whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers.”

National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report(VOA)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons
Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?