The CIA is facing a fresh, new controversy in what is being called the “Vault 7” documents. Wikileaks has deemed this the biggest leak of confidential documents ever, which has revealed the CIA has been hacking into people’s personal devices.
The documents highlight the CIA’s ability to target smartphones and computers along with TVs that are connected to the Internet, also known as smart TVs.
Despite these revelations, that is not even close to the most troubling part of the leaked documents.
There is an aspect of the documents that reveal the CIA possesses the capability to trick people into thinking they are being hacked by other countries. This happens through a program that Wikileaks has identified as “Umbrage”.
Basically, when the CIA would come across a hack by some external entity, they would document the strategy used to facilitate the hack. Any type of cyber attack leaves a trail and the CIA was cataloguing the trails that were left.
Umbrage is a program that that has various cyber weapons that can be used to allow data to be deleted and webcams to be spied on, among other things.
Wikileaks wrote in its release of the documents “The CIA’s Remote Devices Branch’s Umbrage group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques stolen from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation”.
Now, why is this the most troubling part of the leaks? The documents specifically list Russia as one of the countries that the CIA was copying hacker strategies from. There have been escalating tensions between the US and Russia amid the immensely talked about possibility of Russia interfering in the 2016 presidential election and swaying it in favor of Donald Trump. Intelligence agencies have come out and said that Russia did play a part in the 2016 election, but these new leaks make me wonder how credible that conclusion really is.
The Vault 7 leaks show that the top intelligence agency in the US has the ability to make a hack look like it is coming from a particular source when in reality the hack could be coming from a completely different source. I want to be clear that I am not insinuating that the CIA or any other intelligence agency used Umbrage to place the sole blame on Russia, but it immediately makes one wonder how trustworthy these government agencies are.
We now know for a fact that the CIA can make a hack look like it came from a different source than the entity responsible, so how can any American citizen confidently say that Russia influenced the presidential election? Quite simply, no one can.
This is an opinion piece.
We will update the CIA leaks as the story progresses.
–Contributed by: Bobby Amendola