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.”
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.