Reports: WikiLeaks Releases Docs on Alleged CIA Hacking Tools; Contractors May Be Cause of Leak

WikiLeaks has released more than 7,000 webpages of documents on software tools and techniques alleged used by CIA and allied intelligence agencies to gain access to computers, smartphones and other personal devices, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Andrew Lehren, Matthew Rosenberg and Scott Shane write that the WikiLeaks release dubbed Vault 7 covers instructions on how to compromise computer tools such as Skype and commercial antivirus programs.

The report said the documents, dated from 2013 to 2016, are from CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence and have potentially been circulated among former government hackers and contractors, one of whom WikiLeaks claims to be a source.

James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the New York Times he believes a foreign state instead might have led the hacking and delivered the information to WikiLeaks.

Reuters reported Wednesday that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials also believe a contractor might have breached security and provided the hacking documents.

The report noted companies that have worked with CIA are looking into their computer logs, access allocation and communications to determine if any of their contractors may have been involved in the breach.

Both the Senate and House intelligence committees plan to open inquiries into the data breach, the report added.

“CIA is legally prohibited from conducting electronic surveillance targeting individuals here at home, including our fellow Americans, and CIA does not do so,” the agency noted in a statement issued Wednesday.

“[The WikiLeaks disclosures] not only jeopardize U.S. personnel and operations, but also equip our adversaries with tools and information to do us harm.”

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