On March 7, 2016, the WikiLeaks organization made public a trove of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) related documents code named Vault 7 by the WikiLeaks organization. What makes this disturbing is that the public dissemination of this data will likely put powerful hacking tools into the hands of cyber criminals. Based on the early stages of the review process, the documents appear to be related to the CIA’s offensive cyber capabilities and are believed to have been obtained from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence.
At this point, there have been several revelations from the documents including the CIA’s ability to bypass encryption mechanisms employed by common Internet communication services including WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram. Furthermore, the documents have revealed a number of zero-day exploits and network penetration software (malware) developed and utilized by the CIA to compromise targets. Additionally, the documents have revealed that the CIA has the ability to compromise several popular operating systems including the Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and common router operating systems. Lastly, the documents have revealed that the United States consulate located in Frankfurt, Germany acts as a covert base for the United States’ global cyber operations. WikiLeaks has not only claimed that there will be additional documentation dumps, but has also claimed that the organization is in possession of millions of lines of source code pertaining to the zero-day exploits and network penetration software developed and utilized by the CIA.