New WikiLeaks Series Details CIA's 'Specialized Unit' Dedicated to Creating iOS Exploits

In a new series of leaks focusing on the United States Central Intelligence Agency, code named "Vault 7," WikiLeaks has revealed 8,761 documents discovered within an isolated network in Langley, Virginia that "amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code." The code contains what WikiLeaks referred to as a "hacking arsenal" of malware, viruses, trojans, and weaponized "zero day" exploits for iOS devices, that could give anyone in possession of the code "the entire hacking capacity of the CIA."

This "Year Zero" release is the first in the full Vault 7 series by WikiLeaks, and is said to act as an introduction to the capacity and means of the CIA's covert hacking program. The agency's abilities can take aim at a number of popular consumer products from companies like Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft, turning everything from an iPhone to a smart TV into a "covert microphone."

ipadmini4touchid
In its analysis of the released documents, WikiLeaks looked at how iPhones and iPads have been targeted by the CIA in the past, and how they can continue to be exploited in the future. Although Android remains a dominant force in the global smartphone market, WikiLeaks argued that a "disproportionate focus" has been placed on iOS devices by the CIA, most likely due to the Apple-branded phone's popularity.

Because of this, the agency has a specialized unit in place within the Mobile Development Branch that creates and executes malware to infiltrate, take control of, and exfiltrate sensitive information from iOS products. The MDB's methods are said to include a collection of zero day exploits, which are vulnerabilities in a piece of software unknown by the software's creator and subsequently exploitable by hackers.

Including the iOS malware, WikiLeaks claimed that the CIA has recently "lost control" of the majority of its hacking arsenal.

Despite iPhone's minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone 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. 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.

WikiLeaks noted that in the wake of Edward Snowden's NSA leaks, a group of technology companies convinced the Obama administration to disclose any zero day exploits and bugs to each company, rather than hoard the information. The Vulnerabilities Equities Process underlined this agreement in 2010, and the U.S. government said it would reveal any vulnerabilities discovered to the company in question.

Documents in Year Zero paint a further negative image for the CIA, which is said to not have abided by the agreement between the technology companies and the U.S. government. An example was given by WikiLeaks centering on one malware that can control both the Android phone and iPhone software "that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts." The government is said to not have brought the information forward to Apple or Google in the time it has had the hacking data.

As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.

The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers. By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.

The scope of the new WikiLeaks documents includes detailed information on the iOS exploits, hacks that could potentially infest vehicle control systems, and even attacks against Samsung smart TV sets. This last point, dubbed "Weeping Angel," was said to have been developed by the CIA in conjunction with the United Kingdom's MI5 as a way to convert turned-off television sets into secret microphones.

The full list of the Year Zero documents can be found on WikiLeaks, and complete analysis of the documents by independent security experts will take some time in order for the impact of the release to be determined.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

Rudy69 Avatar
52 months ago
This is news? lol.

The government has ALWAYS tried to spy on its citizens, legally or illegally. People are just too naive and oblivious to believe such facts.

Problem with the truth, no one usually believes it and it usually hurts.
I think the news is that it's been confirmed and it's not just tinfoil hat material
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JeffyTheQuik Avatar
52 months ago
The number one lie people tell themselves is that "The Government can't/won't do that!"

The number two lie people tell themselves is "Well, I'm not doing anything wrong, so why does it matter?"

The truth is that an innocent person cannot be manipulated, as they have nothing to hold over them. Sooner, or later, something valuable will be found by those that want to manipulate you, and will, at their leisure, use that to bend your will.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KPOM Avatar
52 months ago
And yet people are saying Trump must be lying when he says he was wiretapped.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
barkomatic Avatar
52 months ago
Who would have thought that the surveillance state didn't arrive as equipment forcibly installed in each person's home and workplace, but by manipulating consumer electronics that were voluntarily purchased.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yaxomoxay Avatar
52 months ago
you sound like a spy......

and you know too much.
[doublepost=1488905563][/doublepost]
Seriously. I read it and yawned. Not from apathy regarding covert surveillance, but from faux-surprise that this info would be new to anyone. Are there actually people who didn't think this was occurring?
In the court of law, thinking that an event happened and proving that an event happened makes quite a difference.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Orlandoech Avatar
52 months ago
This is news? lol.

The government has ALWAYS tried to spy on its citizens, legally or illegally. People are just too naive and oblivious to believe such facts.

Problem with the truth, no one usually believes it and it usually hurts.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

jon prosser imac 2021colors

Prosser: 2021 iMac to Come in Five Colors, Apple Silicon Mac Pro to Resemble 'Stacked' Mac Minis

Wednesday February 24, 2021 7:26 am PST by
Hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has today alleged that the upcoming 2021 iMac models will offer five color options, mirroring the colors of the fourth-generation iPad Air, and revealed a number of additional details about the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon. In a new video on YouTube channel FrontPageTech, Prosser explained that the redesigned iMacs will come featuring options for Silver, Space ...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
flat mbp 14 inch feature yellow

Redesigned 14-Inch MacBook Pro Expected to Feature Brighter Mini-LED Display With Slimmer Bezels and More

Thursday February 25, 2021 7:48 am PST by
Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED-backlit displays in the second half of this year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report claims that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is said to be tasked with final assembly of the...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
steam apple logo

Valve Ordered to Give Apple Information on 436 Steam Games As Part of Epic Games Legal Case

Thursday February 25, 2021 1:50 am PST by
Valve, the makers behind popular game distribution platform Steam, will be forced to hand over aggregate historical sales, price, and other information on 436 games hosted on the store to Apple, as part of the Apple vs. Epic Games antitrust case. As reported in a paywalled report by Law360, during a virtual discovery hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson ordered that...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...
apple store macarthur center

Apple Store at MacArthur Center in Virginia Permanently Closing Following Years of Safety Issues at Shopping Mall

Thursday February 25, 2021 4:45 pm PST by
Apple today indicated that its retail store at the MacArthur Center shopping mall in Norfolk, Virginia will be permanently closing after over 14 years of business, although an exact closure date has yet to be announced by the company. Apple has assured that it will be offering all employees at the store other positions within Apple, and said that it looks forward to continuing to serve...
qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g

iPhone 13 Lineup Expected to Use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 Modem With Several 5G Improvements

Wednesday February 24, 2021 8:10 am PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 13 lineup will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, with Samsung to handle manufacturing of the chip, according to DigiTimes. Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the 7nm-based Snapdragon X55 modem used in iPhone 12 models, which could contribute to longer battery life. With the X60 modem, iPhone...
anker magsafe powercore battery pack

Anker Releases MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack for iPhone 12 Lineup

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:49 am PST by
Following rumors that Apple is working on a MagSafe battery pack for iPhone 12 models, popular accessory maker Anker has beaten Apple to the punch with the release of its PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank. First previewed at CES 2021, the PowerCore battery pack magnetically attaches to the back of any iPhone 12 model and provides 5W of wireless charging. With a 5,000 mAh capacity,...