The former CIA programmer Joshua Schulte (33) was found guilty in New York federal court of stealing the agency’s hacking tools and leaking them to WikiLeaks in 2017.
The huge trove of data, called “Vault 7,” exposed the hacking capabilities of the US Intelligence Agency and its internal infrastructure. 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.
The arsenal used by the Central Intelligence Agency hackers was composed of hacking tools developed by the CCI’s Engineering Development Group (EDG).
The developers at EDG are tacked for developing and testing any kind of malicious code, including implants, backdoors, exploits, Trojans and viruses. The CIA has dozens of zero-day exploit codes in its arsenal that can be used to target almost any platform, from Windows and Linux PC, to Android and iOS mobile devices.
In middle May 2018, both The New York Times and The Washington Post, revealed the name of the alleged source of the Vault 7 leak, the man who passed the secret documents to Wikileaks. According to his LinkedIn profile, Schulte worked for the NSA for five months in 2010 as a systems engineer, after this experience, he joined the CIA as a software engineer and he left the CIA in November 2016.
Schulte was identified a few days after WikiLeaks started leaking the precious dumps.
Schulte was arrested for possession of child pornography, he was charged with three counts of receipt, possession and transportation of child pornography in August 2017.
The man was released in September 2017, but in December he was arrested again for violating the conditions of his release.
In November 2018, Joshua Adam Schulte faced new charges included in a new indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, he was charged with the unlawful transmission and attempted unlawful transmission of national defense secrets from prison.
In February 2018, the layers of the former CIA employee asked the court for a mistrial, in this case, they claimed the prosecutors withheld evidence that could exonerate his client during the trial in the Manhattan federal court.
Now Schulte was convicted and prosecutors said that the man was aware of the damage his conduct caused to homeland security.
“Joshua Adam Schulte was a CIA programmer with access to some of the country’s most valuable intelligence-gathering cyber tools used to battle terrorist organizations and other malign influences around the globe. When Schulte began to harbor resentment toward the CIA, he covertly collected those tools and provided them to WikiLeaks, making some of our most critical intelligence tools known to the public – and therefore, our adversaries.” states US Attorney Damian Williams after the conviction. “Moreover, Schulte was aware that the collateral damage of his retribution could pose an extraordinary threat to this nation if made public, rendering them essentially useless, having a devastating effect on our intelligence community by providing critical intelligence to those who wish to do us harm. Today, Schulte has been convicted for one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history.”
“Schulte was aware that the collateral damage of his retribution could pose an extraordinary threat to this nation if made public, rendering them essentially useless,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement after the conviction.
The leak had “a devastating effect on our intelligence community by providing critical intelligence to those who wish to do us harm,” said Williams.
Schulte is also charged with pornography charges and is facing a separate trial.
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(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Vault7)