A price of having an overgrown surveillance industry and routine violations of the US Constitution the inevitability of classified material being exposed. There are too many former CIA hackers with sins to confess, but I wonder about the motives behind this leak. Certainly last week’s Vault 7 release is voluminous and shows that a comprehensive range of things has been compromised, but surprisingly little has been exposed so far relating to violations of their Constitution. What kind of intelligence service doesn’t develop tools and methods for targeted surveillance?
However, there’s a lot that hasn’t been revealed. Wikileaks’ Twitter post claims it’s less than 1% of the material they might publish. The CIA has close ties to Silicon Valley, a data collection budget over four times that of the NSA’s and a comparable allocation for data analysis. The budget for Computer Network Operations (basically what the Wikileaks material exposes), though, is much smaller. According to the press release, the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence had over 5,000 users. It’s therefore a safe bet the CIA does have its own mass surveillance programmes, and anyone of interest to the CIA could have their devices hacked by the Center for Cyber Intelligence.
The consequences of weaponised malware aren’t only domestic. Weaponised malware set a precedent for state-sponsored malicious hacking, and undermined the moral standing and credibility of the US government. When there is a malicious attack on a given state’s network, there’s no telling who was responsible, now we know the CIA was developing methods of implicating other states. Therefore it becomes ludicrous to blame an adversary without very compelling evidence. For example, could we still be so certain the Russian government was responsible for the alleged hacking of the DNC servers, which I believe was unrelated to the published DNC emails?
Things of interest
* Much of the material under the Operational Support Branch section contains useful literature for developers and hackers. There you’ll find tutorials, product documentation, tips, coding practices, links, etc.
* I found a reference to something called ‘Palantir’ in the docs, which appears to be a reference to a testing tool. This caused a bit of fuss when that name appeared in the Snowden material, as it was assumed to be a reference to the company of that name that sells OSINT software.
* Some material deals with defeating ‘personal security products’ – anti-malware that the average home user would have installed. So far, they seemed to have broken past AVG, F-Secure, Comodo and Bitdefender, usually through DLL injection/hijacking.