Wikileaks recently released a set of over 8,000 documents that gave a detailed account of the extent of CIA’s covert operations. The documents not only explained what all devices are vulnerable to the spy agency’s hackS but also how the organisation managed to pull off a task that ordinarily seems impossible.
The documents also revealed how CIA used smartphones and even smart TVs to carry out its covert operations. Shortly after, Jeremy Scahill interviewed NSA whistleblower and former NSA spy Edward Snowden asking him to give insights on various issues pertaining to data security. He also asked Snowden to elaborate how the Samsung smart TVs were being used by the spy agency for snooping on the American citizens.
Snowden made a startling revelation while responding to the questions posed by Scahill. He revealed that it was not only the Samsung smart TVs that were at risk. In fact, all the devices that were connected to the Internet could be hacked and were being used by the CIA as their eyes and ears.
“Any device that is connected to the Internet can be hacked. Samsung TV, in this case, is not hacked. This is a USP enabled hack. This is an old type of hack. They had to go in and actually stick a USP drive and start the TV up and that would enable the hack. Then you pull the USP out and then the CIA guy would start listening in on you. They don’t need to go into your house,” he said.
But that’s not it. Wikileaks, in its latest series codenamed ‘Vault 7’, revealed that not even the operating system like OS X and Linux, which are presumably some of the most secure OSs available today, are safe from CIA’s hostile techniques, which is true for all mobile devices and laptops as well. This was further confirmed by Snowden who said that- “What they do is wait for when these devices are being shipped to you. You order them on Amazon or whatever. They go them at the airports. They get the box. They use a little hair dryer to soften the adhesive to open up the box. Then the put the USP stick in, then they seal the box back all nice and perfect and then they ship it on to you. And now your router, your computer and your TV are hacked. This is a very routine thing.”
In another interview, Snowden told the State of Surveillance host Shane Smith that NSA had access to all the information on your smartphones including your contact list, your SMSs and even the content and duration of the calls that you ever made. “Even if you’ve got GPS disabled because they can see which wireless access points are near you, every part of your private life today is found on someone’s phone,” he told Smith.
“Technology has changed. instead of sending people to follow you, we use the devices that you paid for, the services, the systems that surround you invisibly every day to watch you on our (NSA) behalf,” he added.
In wake of the increasing number of terror attacks, tech giant across the globe have stepped up their security measures. However, not even the most advanced data security measures are enough to hold the CIA and NSA back, that take Google’s help for their surveillance program. “Prism (which is one of the programs at the NSA) is how they pull your junk out of google with google’s involvement. All of the Prism partners, people like yahoo, facebook, google…the govt deputises them to be sort of their surveillance sheriffs,” Snowden said in an interview with John Oliver.
So does this mean that these spy agencies have access to the raunchy photos that you share with your partners and spouses? The answer is– YES.
IF YOUR PHONE HAS BEEN HACKED YOU’D NEVER KNOW
“This is something where it’s not seen as a big problem in the culture of NSA. Because you’ve seen naked pictures all of the time.”
“Even if you’re sending it to someone within the united states, your wholly domestic communication between you and your wife can go from New Your to London and back and get caught up in the database (of NSA),” Snowden added.
To recall, last year CIA asked Apple to unlock the iPhone of the couple that was involved in a shooting at San Bernadino. The request was declined by the company which asserted that doing so would put millions of Apple users across the globe at risk. Later, it so happened that the spy agency was able to perform the requested task with the help of the tech experts it has at its disposal. This fact was further confirmed by Snowden, who said that the CIA and the NSA always had the means to crack open the phone and that the request and the courtroom proceedings were all a part of the act to cover up its tracks.
The good news is that there’s no program named the dick-pic program. The bad news is that they are still collecting every body’s information, including your dick pics.
The most astonishing fact is that all of this snooping happens in the US all the time without any warrant or permission.
On the flipside, if you are not a citizen of the United States, you are less likely to end up on NSA’s radar, unless of course you are some mafia guy or have some connection with the subjects that are of some interest to the CIA. “If they know that there’s a particular place or zip code that has a nuclear facility, they do this kind of thing,” Snowden told Scahill.
They are paying companies to develop what are basically digital weapons and tools like burglary tools they would break in any device and then when they create these things, the problem is that anybody can use them.
Bottom line is that CIA has eyes and ears everywhere and they know everything about you.
You still think your password is enough to keep your chats and explicit images safe?!