Short-term intelligence wins will come at the expense of long-term securityby Athina Karatzogianni, Richard J Aldrich / March 10, 2017 / Leave a comment
Organisations like the CIA live or die by their ability to keep secrets. Today the CIA is in the intensive care room and is leaking secrets like a wet paper bag. On Tuesday, WikiLeaks published the biggest ever leak of CIA documents: 8,761 in total.
WikiLeaks claims that it has released only one per cent of the remarkable new CIA material it has available. The CIA had apparently “lost control” of an archive of hacking methods circulated among former US government hackers and contractors in an unauthorised manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with all the details.
One of the reasons for this leak is the vicious competition between the CIA, the NSA, and FBI, and the exploitation of these internal feuds in the US intelligence community by Donald Trump’s administration. The US does not really have an intelligence community so much as an intelligence discontinuity—which means that many leaks are yet to come. The main casualty will be its alliances. In the summer of 2013, Edward Snowden’s leaks showed that Britain and America were spying on their NATO allies. Now this latest development shows that the leak-prone Americans cannot be trusted with the top secrets of others. Snowden spilled most of GCHQ’s biggest secrets and now the Americans have done something similar to MI5. The Director-General of MI5 must hate the CIA.
What exactly has been revealed? The answer is premier league hacking secrets. The first part of the WikiLeaks Vault 7 series of documents allegedly shows how the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI) produced more than a thousand hacking systems, viruses, and other “weaponised” malware—that is, software which is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorised access to a computer system. This arsenal can target iOS, Android, Windows—even Samsung TVs, which are allegedly turned into covert microphones. One CIA system, called “fine dining,” helps officers to select their spying tool of choice. “Hive” is a customised malware suite implant for Windows, Solaris and Microtik, used in internet routers and Linux platforms. It allows spies to infect computer systems while hiding behind “decoy” applications. No system, it seems, is safe.