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Privacy at risk: Wikileaks scandal

Julian Assange

The latest Wikileaks scandal could broke out in the privacy of the world's homes. Last week, the organization headed by Julian Assange revealed confidential documents from the CIA detailing the tools the intelligence service allegedly uses to break into popular apps and devices, including the iPhone, Android, and Windows operating systems.

The leak comprises 9,000 documents, the largest disclosure about classified intelligence information.

Wikileaks indicated that "Year Zero", as they have called the release of this information, is the first in a series of CIA document leaks, which they plan to bring to light in the coming weeks.

It reveals how the CIA developed a thousand malicious programs between viruses, Trojan horses and other computer programs, which allow infiltrating and controlling electronic devices, smartphones, smart TVs and even vehicles to spy on its users.

 

RELEASE: Vault 7 Part 1 "Year Zero": Inside the CIA's global hacking force https://t.co/h5wzfrReyy pic.twitter.com/N2lxyHH9jp

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) 7 de marzo de 2017

At present 80% of the business of mass espionage is in the hands of private companies that are hired by the government, the director of Wikileaks told the International Open Data Summit in Mexico City, through a screen linked to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Where he remains a political asylee since June 2012.

By hacking holes, the agency could access data transmissions before they are encrypted through these companies, according to Wikileaks. This could mean that even encrypted communication apps like Signal and WhatsApp could be vulnerable to CIA attacks.

Apple's iPhone and smart TVs from Samsung could also be used for espionage.

Apple, Microsoft and Google were already indicted in 2013 when Edward Snowden demonstrated how the US National Security Agency (NSA) accessed its servers, according to El Espectador.

This week, Assange explained that "some experts can protect themselves from surveillance, and terrorists are precisely those experts. But an ordinary person cannot protect himself from espionage."

 

By 2015, security firm NowSecure claimed that a code bug in Swift keyboard software pre-installed on more than 600 million Samsung devices, allows a remote attacker to infiltrate the device. The vulnerable phones are the Galaxy S6, S5, S4 and S4 mini.

This time, the complaint has gone further because Wikileaks indicates that the company could be infecting units like the microphones of smart TVs to record conversations from a remote place.

At that time, the South Korean company responded briefly, indicating that it had offered telephone operators a patch to address this error. At present, the response has not been much more encouraging.

Samsung, Windows and Facebook, owners of WhatsApp, responded that their staff is just reviewing the report.

Apple said: "The technology of our iPhones is the best to protect data. And we work to keep it that way. Our products and software are designed to be updated. Almost 80% of users use the latest version available. We ask you to do so. Our initial analysis points to the fact that most customers are protected from what has been leaked. "

LG noted the need to strengthen security and collaboration between manufacturers: "Digital privacy is not just LG, but the entire industry."

Google has not yet pronounced.

The CIA, on the other hand, accused Wikileaks of "endangering Americans, helping US rivals and undermining Washington's fight against terrorist threat."

 

Privacy breached

Spanish journalist for technology, Rosa Jiménez Cano, said in her column of the newspaper El País that ordinary citizens are not in the sights of the CIA or any security agency, except for specific cases and that therefore there is nothing to worry about.

To hack a personal device, she said, it is necessary to have the computer on hand to install the spyware program, and little is about invisible strategies. But it is essential to be careful when introducing a USB or cables of unknown origin, when loading the devices in strange sources,

"The tools that Wikileaks claims are used by the CIA infiltrate the operating system, once they have control of it, they have it all over the mobile," and not by using programs like WhatsApp or Telegram, says Jiménez.

She says that "in recent years the security protocols of the devices have been strengthened" and that it is ideal to rely on new devices.

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