In a strange turn of events for the website that never ceases to surprise, Wikileaks is reaching out to tech firms to say, ‘hey, let us help you patch your security.’ In a press conference last week the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, announced the site had a lot of unpublished information about CIA hacking and spying they would release to tech firms, including the source code showing exactly how those attacks work.
“After considering what we think is the best way to proceed and hearing these calls from some of the manufacturers, we have decided to work with them to give them some exclusive access to the additional technical details that we have so that fixes can be developed and pushed out, so that people can be secure,” said Assange during the press conference.
Last week the site published a trove of alleged CIA information, the ‘Vault 7,’ including details about worldwide efforts to hack phones and televisions. Obviously, the CIA has declined to comment specifically on the event, but were quick to discount Assange.
“As we’ve said previously, Julian Assange is not exactly a bastion of truth and integrity,” said CIA spokeswoman Heather Fritz Horniak. “Despite the efforts of Assange and his ilk, CIA continues to aggressively collect foreign intelligence overseas to protect America from terrorists, hostile nation states and other adversaries.”
CIA Spying? You Bet.
There’s a good reason most tech professionals cover up their computer’s camera – such technology, be it on your smartphone or PC, is designed to be ‘always on.’ There’s no surprise the kind of sophisticated technology available to the CIA could be used to hack just about anyone. The ‘Internet of Things’ has forever changed the way we live and work – but it’s also opened the door to an unprecedented degree of surveillance, from friend and foe alike.
The question came to the forefront in a limited capacity in December, when an Arkansas police department issued Amazon a warrant for the voice recordings of an Amazon Echo that may have been the only witness during a hot tub murder that occurred in 2015. An ‘always on’ mic and speaker may be an example on the extreme, but if it has a camera, and it’s connected to the Internet, someone can hack it – and it should come as no surprise that the CIA has that capability. What they do with it is the real story.
As far as Wikileaks’ new desire to get into bed with your security officer, many tech firms came out to say they had not been contacted by Wikileaks, but were open to receiving information about security vulnerabilities from anyone.