WASHINGTON: WikiLeaks published thousands of documents on Tuesday described as secret files about CIA hacking tools the government employs to break into users' computers, mobile phones and even smart TVs from companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung
The documents describe clandestine methods for bypassing or defeating encryption, antivirus tools and other protective security features intended to keep the private information of citizens and corporations safe from prying eyes. US government employees, including President Donald Trump, use many of the same products and internet services purportedly compromised by the tools.
The documents describe CIA efforts - cooperating with friendly foreign governments and the US National Security Agency - to subvert the world's most popular technology platforms, including Apple's iPhones and iPads, Google's Android phones and the Microsoft Windows operating system for desktop computers and laptops.
The documents also include discussions about compromising some internet-connected televisions to turn them into listening posts. One document discusses hacking vehicle systems, indicating the CIA's interest in hacking modern cars with sophisticated on-board computers.
WikiLeaks has a long track record of releasing top secret government documents, and experts who sifted through the material said it appeared legitimate.
The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said he was very concerned about the release and had asked the intelligence community for more information about it.
Former CIA Director Mike Hayden told MSNBC he had undertaken only a cursory review of the documents, but that if they were what they were purported to be, it would amount to a "very extensive file of the tactics, techniques, procedures, targets and other political rules" under which the CIA hacks targets. "If it is that, it would be very, very damaging," he said.