Germany Taking WikiLeaks Information on CIA Surveillance 'Very Seriously'

Tim Cook
Germany Taking WikiLeaks Information on CIA Surveillance 'Very Seriously'
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10 March, 2017

Google, Apple, Microsoft and Cisco Systems, who all have products mentioned in the documents, did not immediately comment.

The news comes as the tech industry and USA intelligence community is still assessing the implications of the release of the WikiLeaks documents, which appear to be genuine, and which describe a variety of ways the CIA is able to spy on smartphones and Internet-connected television sets.

WikiLeaks said the Central Intelligence Agency could do more than spying.

Robert Graham, a researcher with Errata Security, said most of these hacks are simply methods to "trick you into installing their software".

Many tech giants quickly sought to reassure the public about the security of their devices - including Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft - with Google initially missing from the list.

"And there are questions as to how useful this collaboration will be considering that USA intelligence officials say much of the data and documents published detailed techniques that are over two years old, a lot of the software has already been outdated and those flaws have been fixed".

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has accused the CIA of "devastating incompetence" and says he will provide details of the intelligence agency's hacking tools to technology companies.

"We have chose to work with them to give them some exclusive access to the additional technical details we have so fixes that can be developed and then pushed out", Assange told a press conference broadcast via Facebook.

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USA media quoted current and former US officials as saying that details contained in the documents suggest that they are legitimate.

Whatever way you look at it, this is just the beginning of a new chapter in the surveillance wars that broke out when Edward Snowden revealed the mass surveillance techniques employed by the NSA and its global cronies in the spy community in 2014.

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".

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.

"At least, I succeed not to get into a bad situation", Lavrov said. If the documents turn out to be genuine they represent another massive breach of security for the U.S. intelligence community.

Frederike Kaltheuner, policy advisor for Privacy International, suggested that the real problem lay in the fact that the technology is fundamentally insecure.

How concerned should consumers be who have surrounded themselves with these devices? While exploits across a range of devices and the ability to turn on cameras and microphones is a touch chilling, they're nothing new, and anyone with real concerns should already be going about their business with those possibilities in mind.


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