WASHINGTON Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks on Tuesday said it had obtained a secret trove of hacking tools used by the CIA to break into or circumvent the security of phones, communication apps and other devices, and published confidential documents describing those programs.
Among the most noteworthy WikiLeaks claims are that the Central Intelligence Agency, in partnership with other U.S. and foreign agencies, has been able to bypass the encryption on popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal, by hacking phones that use Google Inc’s Android platform to collect audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.
Reuters could not immediately verify the contents of the published documents, but several contractors and private cyber security experts said the materials, dated between 2013 and 2016, appeared to be legitimate.
The information in what WikiLeaks said were 7,818 web pages with 943 attachments appears to represent the latest in a string of breaches in recent years of classified material from U.S. intelligence agencies.
Experts differed over how much the disclosures will damage U.S. cyber espionage. Many said that, while harmful, they do not compare to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 of intrusive NSA surveillance.
Stuart McClure, CEO of Cylance, an Irvine, California, cyber security firm, said that one of the most significant disclosures shows how CIA hackers cover their tracks by leaving trails suggesting they are from Russia, China and Iran rather than the United States.
Other revelations show how the CIA took advantage of…
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