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Central Intelligence Agency turns TVs, smartphones into spying tools: What you need to know

Central Intelligence Agency turns TVs, smartphones into spying tools: What you need to know”

Tuesday's leak of more than 8,000 documents touched off an global uproar, as some of the spy agency's most closely guarded cyber tools were allegedly revealed to the world.

Wikileaks says it has elected not to release the actual code for the CIA's malware and cyberweapons "until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such "weapons" should analyzed, disarmed and published". This is the equivalent of saying that if your house is broken into and bugged, whispering softly on your phone in your bedroom is not going to make that conversation secure.

WikiLeaks published 8761 documents, claiming it to be the largest ever release of CIA files in the agency's history.

Officials are discussing whether to use that process to disclose more information about the issues described in the documents released by WikiLeaks, but that is likely to involve a lengthy interagency review, said one person familiar with the situation.

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The CIA hadn't yet confirmed or denied the information at the time of publication, but WikiLeaks does have a long track record of releasing top-secret government documents.

Claiming that the technology was almost impossible to keep under wraps - or under control - he said: "WikiLeaks discovered the material as a result of it being passed around".

These hacking tools have allegedly targeted iPhones, the Android system, popular Microsoft software and Samsung smart televisions.

Assange, who didn't name the companies WikiLeaks seeks to work with, said the leaks show how hard it is for any person or organization to maintain control of cyber tools.

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In a January interview with Fox News, Assange said, "We can say - we have said repeatedly - over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party".

WikiLeaks published documents that it says describe Central Intelligence Agency tools for hacking into devices including mobile phones, computers and smart televisions.

In one such example, codenamed "Weeping Angel", the CIA and United Kingdom spy agency MI5 allegedly developed a "fake-off" attack against a Samsung-connected internet TV, so the owner thinks it's off when it's actually still running - and able to record conversations in the room.

While the agency did not confirm the documents are authentic, Google and Apple's response indicate that the software exploits and critical security vulnerabilities that the documents refer to are definitely real. "We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents", a spokesman said. According to the leaks, it essentially turns Samsung smart TVs into wiretaps.

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For Silicon Valley more broadly, the danger isn't just the potential for hackers to take advantage of the data dump, but the effect the leak has had on the entire industry's reputation.



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