US authorities say the security breach leading to WikiLeaks' data release on the CIA was likely carried out by contractors.
WikiLeaks’ disclosure of documents appearing to outline secret CIA phone- and gadget-hacking tools has caused concern both in the US and worldwide.
Now, the anti-secrecy group’s founder, Julian Assange, has said details of the CIA’s hacking mechanisms will be handed over to tech companies.
He has accused the CIA of “devastating incompetence” regarding the affair.
BREAKING: Julian Assange: WikiLeaks has decided to give details of CIA hacking tools to tech companies .— The Associated Press (@AP) March 9, 2017
NOW: Assange repeats Wikileaks’ claim that CIA “lost control of its entire cyber weapons arsenal," an explosive charge CIA has not denied.— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) March 9, 2017
American authorities say the security breach was likely carried out by contractors and the intelligence community had been aware of it since the end of last year.
Experts, such as the University of Southern California’s Professor Clifford Neuman, have urged caution.
“Security practitioners have known that this is a problem for a long time. Certain pieces of software and certain pieces of hardware have been criticized because, for example, microphones might be always on. And we just need to be more aware that the information that is collected for one purpose can very easily be redirected for others,” he said.
Chinese government's reaction to CIA hacking revelations #Vault7pic.twitter.com/IIB4BKf6P6— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 9, 2017
Officials say the leaked documents about hacking techniques used between 2013 and 2016 appear to be authentic.
RELEASE: Vault 7 Part 1 "Year Zero": Inside the CIA's global hacking force https://t.co/h5wzfrReyypic.twitter.com/N2lxyHH9jp— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 7, 2017
The data released appears to show that CIA hackers can capture not-yet-encrypted text and voice messages from devices such as iPhones and those running Android software.
White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, issued this statement:
“And make no mistake about it I think the president has talked before that anybody who leaked classified information will be held to the highest degree of law. We will go after people who leak classified information. we’ll prosecute them to the full extent of the law. This is playing with our nation’s national security is not something that should be taken lightly under this administration.”
US President Donald Trump is said to be “extremely concerned” about the situation.