Google weighs in on WikiLeaks bombshell

Google weighs in on WikiLeaks bombshell

Google weighs in on WikiLeaks bombshell

The revelations mean popular messaging apps that purport to be safe from cybercriminals, hackers and government surveillance-such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal-are vulnerable if the device they are on has been compromised.

United States intelligence agencies believe the emails were hacked by Russian Federation as part of a coordinated influence campaign to discredit Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and help President Donald Trump, a Republican, win. This is the equivalent of saying that if your house is broken into and bugged, whispering softly on your phone in your bedroom is not going to make that conversation secure. WikiLeaks has also been accused of aiding covert Russian intelligence efforts to undermine the latest US presidential election, and came under fire recently for publishing documents without first redacting sensitive information that critics argue is not pertinent to the broader privacy and civil liberties issues at stake.

According to The Washington Post, the latest revelations about US government's powerful hacking tools suggest that a variety of everyday devices can be turned to spy on their owners.

Federal authorities plan to interview hundreds of agents as part of their search to find the person responsible for providing a huge cache of top secret documents to the whistleblowing site, with initial investigations focusing on the possibility that an insider was responsible for the leaks.

These hacking programs can target "a wide range of USA and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows (operating system) and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones".

Google's response is nearly identical to Apple's, but isn't particularly comforting given that the documents WikiLeaks has released are at least a year old, and more are on their way.

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The CIA has not confirmed the authenticity of the documents, but officials tell ABC News that they appear authentic.

Assange, who didn't name the companies WikiLeaks seeks to work with, said the leaks show how hard it is for any person or organization to maintain control of cyber tools.

"'Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day' weaponized exploits against a wide range of USA and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones", WikiLeaks wrote.

One program code-named Weeping Angel was allegedly able to use Samsung smart televisions as covert listening devices.

"Between the time that we notified them and the release date", Costello noted, "it was approximately one line of code per week".

Wikileaks' disclosure of what it claims are wide-ranging Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools is hardly likely to surprise anyone in the post-Snowden world we now live in. The app makers also advice consumers to not use rooted or jailbroken devices, and install various security software required to keep malware at bay.

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