from the They-wouldn't-do-THAT...-would-they? dept.
The Trump administration's CIA actively developed plans to kidnap or assassinate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during his seclusion in London's Ecuadorian embassy, according to a detailed new report from Yahoo News. Scenarios included abducting Assange from the embassy, intercepting a Russian effort to extract him, or an outright assassination attempt. While none of the operations were ever approved, they paint an alarming portrait of intelligence agencies' ongoing obsession with Wikileaks and its controversial founder.
As sources, Yahoo cites conversations with more than 30 former US officials. Among those, eight provided details on plans to kidnap Assange.
The report mostly details operations developed during the Trump administration, which placed fewer restraints on the CIA and was less troubled by the implications of launching direct operations against a figure many saw as a journalist. The issue became particularly heated in March of 2017, when Wikileaks published a catalog of hacking tools developed by the CIA. After that, "WikiLeaks was a complete obsession of Pompeo's," a source told Yahoo.
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We had two stories submitted pertaining the recent announcement that Wikileaks claimed it had received a cache of CIA hacking tools.
Security Firms Assess Impact of CIA Leak
Security firms have started assessing the impact of the CIA hacking tools exposed on Tuesday by WikiLeaks as part of the leak dubbed "Vault 7."
Files allegedly obtained from a high-security CIA network appear to show that the intelligence agency has tools for hacking everything, including mobile devices, desktop computers, routers, smart TVs and cars.
The published files also appear to show that the CIA has targeted the products of many security solutions providers, including anti-malware and secure messaging applications. The list of affected vendors includes Symantec, Kaspersky, Avira, F-Secure, Microsoft, Bitdefender, Panda Security, Trend Micro, ESET, Avast, AVG, McAfee, Comodo and G Data.
While WikiLeaks has not released any of the exploits it has obtained, an initial investigation conducted by security firms indicates that the CIA's capabilities may not be as advanced as some have suggested.
[...] WikiLeaks reported that the CIA had found a way to bypass the encryption of Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp and other secure messaging applications.
While many jumped to conclude that the agency had actually broken the encryption of these apps, WikiLeaks actually meant that gaining access to a mobile device using iOS and Android exploits could have given the CIA access to conversations, without having to break their encryption.