WikiLeaks announced on Tuesday that it has obtained thousands of files allegedly originating from a high-security network of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The Wikileaks dump, called “Vault7,” exposed the hacking capabilities of the US Intelligence Agency and its internal infrastructure.
“Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation.” reads the announcement issued by WikiLeaks by Wikileaks.
According to Wikileaks, the precious archive appears to have been circulated among former US government experts and contractors in an unauthorized manner. One of them likely provided the files to WikiLeaks.
The archive includes confidential information, malicious codes, and exploits specifically designed to target popular products from various IT companies, including Samsung, Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
Now WikiLeaks has decided to share information on the hacking tools included in the Vault7 dump with the tech companies whose products are affected.
The White House promptly warned that there may be legal repercussions for the organization.
The intent of Wikileaks is to protect the customers of the major companies that use the products of several major companies that are impacted by the hacking tools in the data leak.
Tech companies are saying they need more details of CIA attack techniques to fix them faster. Should WikiLeaks work directly with them?
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 8, 2017
WikiLeaks initially announced it would not release any tools or exploits “until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons‘ should analyze, disarmed and published.”
During a WikiLeaks press conference on March 9, 2017, Julian Assange explained that the organization decided to share information with impacted companies.
“We have decided to work with them, to give them some exclusive access to the additional technical details we have so that fixes can be developed and pushed out so that people can be secured,” Assange said. “And then, once this material is effectively disarmed by us, by removing critical components, we will publish additional details about what has been occurring.”
The decision was taken by WikiLeaks and its followers through a poll on Twitter about the possibility to share technical details of the hacking tools with the companies in private industry that sell the products targeted by the US intelligence.
“Yes, make people safe,” while 36 percent of respondents said “No, they’re the problem.”
“If a program or a piece of information is classified, it remains classified regardless of whether or not it is released into the public venue or not,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer. “I would just suggest that someone consult with [the Department of Justice] regarding the legal repercussions of any individual or entity using any piece of still-classified information or technique or product that hasn’t been declassified.”
The CIA has refused to comment the authenticity of Wikileaks data leak and remarked that US law doesn’t allow the Government to spy on it citizens.
While I was writing, tech companies are already working to fix the zero-day flaws in their products and to offer customers tools to detects the presence of anomalies in their applications.
Intel Security has released a tool that allows users to check if the firmware of computers contains unauthorized code.
The Advanced Threat Research team at Intel Security developed a new module for its existing CHIPSEC open-source framework to detect rogue EFI binaries. It can be used to detect malicious code from Windows, Linux, macOS, and even from an EFI shell.