According to the Wikileaks Vault 7 information dump, the CIA has been hard at work developing hacks to get into the data on our iPhones. Most of the exploits listed in the report, however, are already patched and Apple is working on taking care of the remaining few.
Vault 7 was released earlier this week showing a list of CIA exploits for the iPhone, Android devices, Samsung smart TVs, and more. The agency was also hacking the encryption in apps such as Signal and WhatsApp.
iPhones have been a big target for the CIA because of their popularity with what Wikileaks called the “social, political, diplomatic, and business elites.”
That’s bad news for iPhone owners, but not as bad as it could be. Apple told Buzzfeed most of the exploits the CIA was using have already been addressed. An Apple spokesperson said,
While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities. We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates.
Considering Apple’s commitment to privacy and security, it’s a safe bet the company really is hard at work on patching the other exploits the CIA used.
CIA, security, and Wikileaks
The Wikileaks Vault 7 documents and Apple’s response highlight the cat-and-mouse game technology companies play with intelligence agencies and hackers. Companies are always looking to find and patch potential exploits while governments and criminals race to find and use those flaws before they’re shut down.
Samsung is feeling the sting from the Vault 7 report, too. The report claims the CIA is able to turn the company’s smart TVs into microphones covertly eavesdropping conversations. Samsung says it’s looking into the issue, implying a fix isn’t in place.
Knowing the CIA has tools to sidestep our privacy is concerning, but there is some comfort in knowing the agency is tasked with collecting information outside the United States, and is bound by law—at least on some level. The same, however, can’t be said for criminals and some governments.
That’s a pretty compelling reason to stay on top of security updates.
You can check out the full list of exploits at the Wikileaks website.