A number of technology firms whose products were allegedly hacked by the CIA have responded to the data dump by WikiLeaks.
The CIA’s hacking tools and what devices have been compromised were detailed in the thousands of documents published by WikiLeaks Tuesday. One allegation was that the agency’s hacking allows it to eavesdrop via the microphones in Smartphones and Smart TVs.
Apple was a prime target for CIA hackers, according to WikiLeaks.
“Despite iPhone’s minority share (14.5 percent) of the global Smartphone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA’s Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads,” WikiLeaks wrote. “CIA’s arsenal includes numerous local and remote ‘zero days’ developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop. The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.”
Apple, in a statement to Tech Crunch, said it had already dealt with many of the vulnerabilities mentioned by WikiLeaks, adding that users running the newest versions of iOS are safe.
“Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80 percent of users running the latest version of our operating system,” Apple said. “While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities. We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security update.”
Apple was certainly not the only victim, however.
It is the task of another CIA unit to target Android-run Smartphones, including those made by Samsung, HTC and Sony.
The techniques used enable the CIA “to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the ‘smart’ phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied,” WikiLeaks alleged.
Google, the creator of Android, has had nothing to say as yet, however.
Samsung’s F8000 series of Smart TVs were reportedly compromised as well via a USB connection — a hack done in concert with the U.K. spy agency MI5.
Samsung, in a statement to the media, called “protecting consumers’ privacy and the security … a top priority.”
“We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter,” the company said.
Computers were also a CIA target, according to the data dump. The agency reportedly created malware to access PCs running Windows.
“The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware,” WikiLeaks said. “This includes multiple local and remote weaponized ‘zero days,’ air gap jumping viruses such as ‘Hammer Drill’ which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas and to keep its malware infestations going.”
Microsoft was curt in its response, saying it was “aware of the report and is looking into it.”
The CIA also developed a multi-platform malware attack of the control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux.
The CIA has neither confirmed nor denied the contents of WikiLeaks’ dumped data. The documents, dated between 2013 and 2016.