A formidable CIA hacking division has amassed hundreds of tools to control smartphones and TVs, and it employed hidden flaws in products made by trusted firms such as Apple, Microsoft and Google for espionage purposes without notifying the companies of the vulnerabilities, WikiLeaks said Tuesday.
WikiLeaks released what it said were 8,761 documents taken from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia, in what it described as “the largest intelligence publication in history.”
The documents indicate that the CIA has collected “more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses and other ‘weaponized’ malware” that allow the agency to seize direct control of devices made by the biggest high-tech firms worldwide. One document indicated that the unit sought to develop ways to commandeer the control systems of vehicles.
WikiLeaks said the CIA had purposefully withheld information from the manufacturers about the vulnerabilities in their systems, undercutting a 2014 pledge by former President Barack Obama to disclose the vulnerabilities so they could be patched and made safe.