By Itunuoluwa Adebo
In what appears to be the largest leak of C.I.A documents in history, Wikileaks released on Tuesday thousands of pages describing sophisticated software tools and techniques used by the agency to break into computers, smartphones, and even Internet-connected televisions.
The documents amount to a detailed, highly technical catalog of tools. They include instructions for compromising a wide range of common computer tools for use in spying: the online calling service Skype; Wi-Fi networks; documents in PDF format; and even commercial antivirus programs of the kind used by millions of people to protect their computers..
The document dump is a serious blow to the C.I.A, which uses its hacking abilities to carry out espionage against foreign targets.
The initial release, which WikiLeaks said was only the first installment in a larger collection of secret C.I.A. material, included 7,818 web pages with 943 attachments, many of them partly redacted by WikiLeaks editors to avoid disclosing the actual code for cyberweapons.
In one revelation that may trouble the tech world if confirmed, WikiLeaks said that the C.I.A. and allied intelligence services have managed to compromise both Apple and Android smartphones, allowing their officers to bypass the encryption on popular services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegran..
There was no public confirmation of the authenticity of the documents, which were produced by the C.I.A.’s Center for Cyber Intelligence and are mostly dated from 2013 to 2016.
WikiLeaks did not identify the source of the documents, which it called Vault 7, but said they had been “circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.”
The agency appeared to be taken by surprise b
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