On Wednesday, several U.S. officials told CNN that the CIA and the FBI are cooperating to launch a federal criminal investigation into the alleged hacking of classified CIA materials that was published by Wikileaks on Tuesday. The investigation is looking to determine whether or not the more than 8,000 documents released were obtained by a hacker outside of the agency or leaked by a government contractor or employee within.
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Officials have stated that the documents that have been shared this far are largely genuine but some may have been altered.
One of the biggest concerns for the federal government is if WikiLeaks publishes critical computer code on how operations are conducted, other hackers could take that code and cause havoc overseas.
The officials emphasized any intelligence collection using the types of operations described in the documents is legal intelligence collection against overseas targets. The officials also cautioned some of the material describes programs still under development by the intelligence community.
On Tuesday, Wikileaks published
thousands of documents that they claim are confidential documents straight from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence. The long-awaited release includes 8,761 documents that account for “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.” Julian Assange says that the batch of documents being called “Vault 7” are the first in a series called “Year Zero.”
The documents detail techniques that the agency uses to spy on citizens through personal technology. Televisions, smartphones, and Internet-connected devices are all subjected to being hacked by the CIA to listen, track and spy on their owners. Among the tools developed by the CIA and MI5 (Security Service, also known as Military Intelligence, Section 5) was one called “Weeping Angel
” that targets certain models of Samsung smart TVs and allows the television to be use to monitor and listen even when the TV appears to be “off.”