WikiLeaks, a platform well-known for releasing leaked high profile documents of the government has once again been able to get their hands on confidential documents.
This time, WikiLeaks got their hands on 8,761 secret papers and files from the CIA called ‘Vault 7’. These files revealed how the agency is hacking ordinary people who have smart devices like iPhone, Android phone, Smart TV, and watches and self-driving cars.
The records acquired mainly belonged to the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, a department of the agency where IT professionals work day and night to spy on people via their phones and other electronic smart devices.
What can CIA do?
The leaked documents clearly state that the CIA is capable of hacking any device with an operating system such as Android and iOS.
For those of you who are unaware, nearly every phone or Smart TV in Pakistan, be it Samsung, Orient, Haire, Huawei, LG, iPhone or HTC, are using the Android/iOS operating systems.
In simple words, if your phone is capable of running Whatsapp, it can be hacked by the CIA.
Or if you are an owner of a Smart TV, the CIA can turn it into a recording device that can listen to your conversations.
Why Should You Worry?
As a Pakistani, you really don’t have to worry about CIA hacking into your device. BUT, the real issue here is that if CIA is capable of hacking any device, what will happen if their secrets are leaked to cyber criminals?
Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user’s geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone’s camera and microphone,’ the files state
It means anyone can hack into your phone, claim your private pictures, take your chat data and release it to the public or demand ransom for acquired data.
In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server
And it could get even worse if you are a business or organization. Hackers or your competitors can hack into your smart TVs and turn it into a recording device to listen to your private conferences and steal ideas.
So how do you protect yourself from hackers?
- For Smartphone users, especially Android users, don’t install unnecessary applications that are released by unauthorized developers.
- Turn your Smart TV off from the power plug when not in use.
- Keep your devices disconnected from Wi-Fi when not in use.
- Cover your laptop/TV camera when you are not using it.
- Don’t click on links that appear in your emails from people who you don’t trust.
- Use 2-factor authentication for your Email, Facebook, and other accounts. With this, anyone who has your password won’t be able to login unless they have your mobile as well.
- Don’t store compromising data/photos that can later be used to blackmail you.