How safe are you from CIA’s hacking tools?
Snowden said everything, the WikiLeaks dump just confirmed them. Central Intelligence Agency’s mass hacking to increase surveillance not only did affect the privacy of those in US and abroad, but also crossed the line at times. The new dump of the CIA documents at WikiLeaks reveal a number of hacking programs and malware that are designed and developed by the government agency to spy on the American People. However, some of the reported capabilities of the CIA’s tools are actually exaggerated.
The messaging apps are secure, your phone is not
Top messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wickr and even iMessage are said to be secure by researchers. All these messaging applications use end to end encryption, meaning that no one, not even the messaging company can see your messages. Also, the leaked documents do not mention a way to by-pass end to end encryption. Also, these apps are simple enough to have any vulnerabilities that went past internal testing.
However, the intelligence agency may get access to your WhatsApp messages simply by accessing your phone. The CIA can access iOS, Android and some other platforms via unpatched vulnerabilities. So, even though the app itself may not be vulnerable, your phone may be. So, it’s a good idea to update your phone as soon as possible.
Older iPhone users are vulnerable
Most of the ‘hacks’ rely on vulnerabilities in software to gain access. These vulnerabilities are exploited to often eavesdrop on the user, or gather information from the device. Will Strafach is the CEO of Verify.ly, a software security firm specializing in mobile devices, said that up-to-date iPhones will not be affected.
However, Apple has scrambled its engineers and brought them up to speed with the leaked documents to patch the vulnerabilities. However, the company is being thwarted with the lack of information on how CIA is managing to hack the phones as mentioned in the leaked documents. The leaked documents do not describe how the tools work, but they say what the tools do.
Apple has released a statement that they have taken the issue seriously and will address any vulnerabilities they find. They also hinted that CIA knows about vulnerabilities that no one else does.