WikiLeaks Explained: How Vulnerable Are You to Hackers?

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting

If it proves to be authentic, then it paints an intimate picture of America's cyber-espionage efforts. WikiLeaks did not reveal the source of the leak, but did say the source "wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons". While it's tempting to panic, there's a lot more you need to know first.

All this information was obtained from an "isolated, high-security network" in Langley, Virginia, according to Wikileaks press release that can be found on its website.

In the biggest shock since Snowden, the latest Wikileaks revelations are sure to cause tensions between Silicon Valley and Washington.

Among those techniques are ways to bypass antivirus software from vendors including Avira, Bitdefender and Comodo, according to some of the leaked documents. Its apparent activities include a program of using dozens of zero-day exploits against products from some of the largest tech companies, including Apple, Google and Microsoft.

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It doesn't look like it. The Cupertino company closes by saying that it always urges users to download and install the latest version of iOS to ensure that they have the most recent security updates. (There might be some for Windows, though.) Most of the of the vulnerabilities described are old ones that can't be implemented. "The best you can do is to ask anyone who claims danger within this leak to go ahead and prove it", Strafach says. Hacker groups and others will probably be pretty stoked for the data dump, too.

In 2013, Edward Snowden took on the life of a fugitive when he revealed the extent of the mass surveillance being conducted by the NSA and cronies such as GCHQ in the UK.

Apple, Google and Microsoft are understood to be hard at work assessing just how badly their core products have been compromised. In 2008, the Obama administration promised it would disclose serious software vulnerabilities so they could be fixed.

Has anything shady been going on?

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"From what I can tell, this seems to be legitimate", says David Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSec, who formerly worked at the NSA and with the Marine Corps' signals intelligence unit.

The documents even include some snippets of code that antivirus vendors can use to detect whether a hacking attempt may have come from the Central Intelligence Agency, said Jake Williams, founder of security company Rendition InfoSec.

The CIA is not chartered to use electronic surveillance within the USA, and the statement points to "rigorous oversight" to enforce that it is abiding by those rules and the Constitution. The team has produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses and malware.

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