WikiLeaks has published a huge trove of what appear to be CIA spying secrets. The files are the most comprehensive release of US spying files ever made public, according to Julian Assange. In all, there are 8,761 documents that account for “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA”, Mr Assange claimed in a release, and the trove is just the first of a series of “Vault 7” leaks. Already, the files include far more pages than the Snowden files that exposed the vast hacking power of the NSA and other agencies. IT security experts from Synopsys and High-Tech Bridge commented below.
Mike Ahmadi, Global Director – Critical Systems Security at Synopsys:
“Unfortunately, US Government computer systems, policies and procedures are largely outdated in today’s hostile world of connected technologies. The moment anything with either external connectivity or mobility (e.g. a USB memory stick) gets near such systems, the game is over. The software running on legacy government computer systems is so fraught with vulnerabilities that any level of access creates the potential for a security breech. The government needs to take a closer look at their exposure if they hope to defend against what is becoming an embarrassing regular occurrence.”
Ilia Kolochenko, CEO at High-Tech Bridge:
“I am bit surprised that this particular incident has attracted so much attention. The CIA, like any other governmental intelligence agency, uses and will continue using various hacking tools and techniques to obtain any information they need to protect the country. This is their duty. So far, we don’t have any evidence that these capacities were used unlawfully, for example to violate reasonable expectation of privacy of innocent US citizens or for illicit interference with elections.
It’s also at least incorrect to speak about the CIA’s inability to defend itself, as the source of the leak remains unknown. This can be an insider incident, against which – no large companies or governmental agencies are protected in any country. It can also be a honeypot – to distract someone’s attention from the real arsenal of the US cyber warfare. I am pretty confident that US intelligence have much bigger technical resources than the garbage exposed in the leak.
Also, intelligence agencies cooperate in many areas, including cybersecurity and cyber warfare. Therefore, the CIA’s collaboration and knowledge sharing with other agencies, such as the MI5, is obvious and is a common practice.”