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Researchers Claim CIA Was Behind 11-Year-Long Hacking Attacks Against China

Researchers Claim CIA Was Behind 11-Year-Long Hacking Attacks Against China
March 03, 2020Wang Wei
Qihoo 360, one of the most prominent cybersecurity firms, today published a new report accusing the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to be behind an 11-year-long hacking campaign against several Chinese industries and government agencies. The targeted industry sectors include aviation organizations, scientific research institutions, petroleum, and Internet companies—which, if true, gives the CIA the ability to do "unexpected things." According to the researchers, these cyberattacks were carried out between September 2008 and June 2019, and most of the targets were located in Beijing, Guangdong, and Zhejiang. "We speculate that in the past eleven years of infiltration attacks, the CIA may have already grasped the most classified business information of China, even of many other countries in the world," the researchers said . "It does not even rule out the possibility that now the CIA is able to track down the real-time global flight status, passe

Accused CIA Leaker Faces New Charges of Leaking Information From Prison

Accused CIA Leaker Faces New Charges of Leaking Information From Prison
November 02, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Joshua Adam Schulte , a 30-year-old former CIA computer programmer who was indicted over four months ago  for masterminding the largest leak of classified information in the agency's history, has now been issued three new charges. The news comes just hours after Schulte wrote a letter to the federal judge presiding over his case, accusing officials at Manhattan Metropolitan Correctional Center of interfering with his case pleading and subjecting him to "cruel and unusual punishment" in pre-trial detention. "The shit-filled showers where you leave dirtier than when you entered; the flooding of the tiers and cages with ice-cold water; the constant blast of cold air as we are exposed to extreme cold without blankets or long-sleeve shirts; the uncontrollable lights that are always on as we are sleep deprived...No human being should ever have to experience this torture," Schulte wrote. Schulte, who once designed hacking tools and malware for both the CIA and

Ex-CIA employee charged with leaking 'Vault 7' hacking tools to Wikileaks

Ex-CIA employee charged with leaking 'Vault 7' hacking tools to Wikileaks
June 19, 2018Mohit Kumar
A 29-year-old former CIA computer programmer who was charged with possession of child pornography last year has now been charged with masterminding the largest leak of classified information in the agency's history. Joshua Adam Schulte , who once created malware for both the CIA and NSA to break into adversaries computers, was indicted Monday by the Department of Justice on 13 charges of allegedly stealing and transmitting thousands of classified CIA documents , software projects , and hacking utilities . Schulte has also been suspected of leaking the stolen archive of documents to anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, who then began publishing the classified information in March 2017 in a series of leaks under the name " Vault 7 ." It is yet unconfirmed whether Schulte leaked documents to WikiLeaks and if yes, then when, but he had already been a suspect since January 2017 of stealing classified national defense information from the CIA in 2016. According to

Hacker Who Hacked US Spy Chief, FBI & CIA Director Gets 5-Year in Prison

Hacker Who Hacked US Spy Chief, FBI & CIA Director Gets 5-Year in Prison
September 09, 2017Wang Wei
Remember " Crackas With Attitude "? The hacking group behind a series of embarrassing hacks that targeted personal email accounts of senior officials at the FBI, the CIA, and the White House, among other United States federal agencies in 2015. A member of Crackas With Attitude , who was arrested last year in September, has now been sentenced to five years in federal prison. Justin Liverman, a 25-year-old man from Morehead City, who was known under the online alias "D3F4ULT," was arrested last year along with another member of the group—Andrew Otto Boggs, 23, of North Wilkesboro, who allegedly used the handle "INCURSIO." The duo hacked into multiple government organizations between October 2015 and February 2016. Boggs was sentenced to two years in prison on June 30, 2017, for his role. Liverman pleaded guilty on January 6 this year to conspiracy to hack U.S. government computers and accounts and was sentenced to 5 years in prison on Friday.

AngelFire: CIA Malware Infects System Boot Sector to Hack Windows PCs

AngelFire: CIA Malware Infects System Boot Sector to Hack Windows PCs
August 31, 2017Swati Khandelwal
A team of hackers at the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency, allegedly used a Windows hacking tool against its targets to gain persistent remote access. As part of its Vault 7 leaks , WikiLeaks today revealed details about a new implant developed by the CIA, dubbed AngelFire , to target computers running Windows operating system. AngelFire framework implants a persistent backdoor on the target Windows computers by modifying their partition boot sector. AngelFire framework consists five following components: 1. Solartime — it modifies the partition boot sector to load and execute the Wolfcreek (kernel code) every time the system boots up. 2. Wolfcreek — a self-loading driver (kernel code that Solartime executes) that loads other drivers and user-mode applications 3. Keystone — a component that utilizes DLL injection technique to execute the malicious user applications directly into system memory without dropping them into the file system. 4. BadMFS — a covert file

Here's How CIA Spies On Its Intelligence Liaison Partners Around the World

Here's How CIA Spies On Its Intelligence Liaison Partners Around the World
August 24, 2017Swati Khandelwal
WikiLeaks has just published another Vault 7 leak, revealing how the CIA spies on their intelligence partners around the world, including FBI, DHS and the NSA, to covertly collect data from their systems. The CIA offers a biometric collection system—with predefined hardware, operating system, and software—to its intelligence liaison partners around the world that helps them voluntary share collected biometric data on their systems with each other. But since no agency share all of its collected biometric data with others, the Office of Technical Services (OTS) within CIA developed a tool to secretly exfiltrate data collections from their systems. Dubbed ExpressLane , the newly revealed CIA project details about the spying software that the CIA agents manually installs as part of a routine upgrade to the Biometric system. The leaked CIA documents reveal that the OTS officers, who maintain biometric collection systems installed at liaison services, visit their premises and se

WikiLeaks Reveals CIA Teams Up With Tech to Collect Ideas For Malware Development

WikiLeaks Reveals CIA Teams Up With Tech to Collect Ideas For Malware Development
July 19, 2017Swati Khandelwal
As part of its ongoing Vault 7 leaks , the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks today revealed about a CIA contractor responsible for analysing advanced malware and hacking techniques being used in the wild by cyber criminals. According to the documents leaked by WikiLeaks, Raytheon Blackbird Technologies, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor, submitted nearly five such reports to CIA as part of UMBRAGE Component Library (UCL) project between November 2014 and September 2015. These reports contain brief analysis about proof-of-concept ideas and malware attack vectors — publically presented by security researchers and secretly developed by cyber espionage hacking groups. Reports submitted by Raytheon were allegedly helping CIA's Remote Development Branch (RDB) to collect ideas for developing their own advanced malware projects. It was also revealed in previous Vault 7 leaks that CIA's UMBRAGE malware development teams also borrow codes from publicly avail

Wikileaks Unveils CIA Implants that Steal SSH Credentials from Windows & Linux PCs

Wikileaks Unveils CIA Implants that Steal SSH Credentials from Windows & Linux PCs
July 06, 2017Swati Khandelwal
WikiLeaks has today published the 15th batch of its ongoing Vault 7 leak , this time detailing two alleged CIA implants that allowed the agency to intercept and exfiltrate SSH (Secure Shell) credentials from targeted Windows and Linux operating systems using different attack vectors. Secure Shell or SSH is a cryptographic network protocol used for remote login to machines and servers securely over an unsecured network. Dubbed BothanSpy — implant for Microsoft Windows Xshell client, and Gyrfalcon — targets the OpenSSH client on various distributions of Linux OS, including CentOS, Debian, RHEL (Red Hat), openSUSE and Ubuntu. Both implants steal user credentials for all active SSH sessions and then sends them to a CIA-controlled server. BothanSpy — Implant for Windows OS BothanSpy is installed as a Shellterm 3.x extension on the target machine and only works if Xshell is running on it with active sessions. Xshell is a powerful terminal emulator that supports SSH, SFTP,

WikiLeaks Reveals How CIA Malware Tracks Geo-Location of its Targeted

WikiLeaks Reveals How CIA Malware Tracks Geo-Location of its Targeted
June 28, 2017Mohit Kumar
WikiLeaks has just published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak , and this time the whistleblowing website has unveiled a classified malware for that tracks geo-location of targeted PCs and laptops running the Microsoft Windows operating system. In short, the malware does it by capturing the IDs of nearby public hotspots and then matching them with the global database of public Wi-Fi hotspots' locations. Dubbed ELSA , the alleged CIA's project consists of two main elements: the processing component (Operator Terminal) and the implant (Windows Target) which is typically being deployed on a target Windows host. Here's How the CIA's ELSA Malware Works The Elsa system first installs the malware on a targeted WiFi-enabled machine using separate CIA exploits to gain persistent access on the device. The malware then uses Wi-Fi hardware of the infected computer to scan nearby visible WiFi access points (AP) and records their ESSID – stands for Extended Service Se

Wikileaks Unveils 'Cherry Blossom' — Wireless Hacking System Used by CIA

Wikileaks Unveils 'Cherry Blossom' — Wireless Hacking System Used by CIA
June 15, 2017Swati Khandelwal
WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak , this time detailing a framework – which is being used by the CIA for monitoring the Internet activity of the targeted systems by exploiting vulnerabilities in Wi-Fi devices. Dubbed " Cherry Blossom ," the framework was allegedly designed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with the help of Stanford Research Institute (SRI International), an American nonprofit research institute, as part of its 'Cherry Bomb' project. Cherry Blossom is basically a remotely controllable firmware-based implant for wireless networking devices, including routers and wireless access points (APs), which exploits router vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access and then replace firmware with custom Cherry Blossom firmware. "An implanted device [ called Flytrap ] can then be used to monitor the internet activity of and deliver software exploits to targets of interest." a leaked CIA manual  reads . "The wi

Cisco Finally Patches 0-Day Exploit Disclosed In Wikileaks-CIA Leak

Cisco Finally Patches 0-Day Exploit Disclosed In Wikileaks-CIA Leak
May 10, 2017Mohit Kumar
Cisco Systems has finally released an update for its IOS and IOS XE software to address a critical vulnerability, disclosed nearly two months back in the CIA Vault 7 leak , that affects more than 300 of its switch models. The company identified the vulnerability in its product while analyzing "Vault 7" dump — thousands of documents and files leaked by Wikileaks, claiming to detail hacking tools and tactics of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). As previously reported , the vulnerability (CVE-2017-3881) resides in the Cluster Management Protocol (CMP) — which uses Telnet or SSH to deliver signals and commands on internal networks — in Cisco IOS and Cisco IOS XE Software. The vulnerability can be exploited remotely by sending "malformed CMP-specific Telnet options while establishing a Telnet session with an affected Cisco device configured to accept Telnet connections," researchers say. The company warned users on April 10 that an exploit targeting

Wikileaks Unveils CIA's Man-in-the-Middle Attack Tool

Wikileaks Unveils CIA's Man-in-the-Middle Attack Tool
May 06, 2017Mohit Kumar
Wikileaks has published a new batch of the Vault 7 leak , detailing a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack tool allegedly created by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to target local networks. Since March, WikiLeaks has published thousands of documents and other secret tools that the whistleblower group claims came from the CIA. This latest batch is the 7th release in the whistleblowing organization's 'Vault 7' series. Dubbed Archimedes , the newly released CIA tool, dumped on Friday, purportedly used to attack computers inside a Local Area Network (LAN). According to the leaked documents, this MitM tool was previously named 'Fulcrum' but later was renamed to 'Archimedes' with several improvements on the previous version, like providing a way to "gracefully shutting down the tool on demand," and adding "support for a new HTTP injection method based on using a hidden iFrame." The leaked documents describe Archimede

Source Code for CIA's Tool to Track Whistleblowers Leaked by Wikileaks

Source Code for CIA’s Tool to Track Whistleblowers Leaked by Wikileaks
April 28, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Wikileaks has just published a new batch of the Vault 7 leak, exposing the documentation and source code for a CIA project known as "Scribbles." Scribbles, a.k.a. the "Snowden Stopper," is a piece of software allegedly designed to embed 'web beacon' tags into confidential documents, allowing the spying agency to track whistleblowers and foreign spies. Since March, as part of its "Vault 7" series, the Whistleblowing website has published thousands of documents and other confidential information that the whistleblower group claims came from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA itself described Scribbles as a "batch processing tool for pre-generating watermarks and inserting those watermarks into documents that are apparently being stolen by FIO (foreign intelligence officers) actors." Here's How Scribbles Tool Works: Scribbles is coded in C# programming language and generates a random watermark for each docu

WikiLeaks Reveals CIA's Grasshopper Windows Hacking Framework

WikiLeaks Reveals CIA's Grasshopper Windows Hacking Framework
April 07, 2017Swati Khandelwal
As part of its Vault 7 series of leaked documents, whistleblowing website WikiLeaks today released a new cache of 27 documents allegedly belonged to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Named Grasshopper , the latest batch reveals a CLI-based framework developed by the CIA to build "customised malware" payloads for breaking into Microsoft's Windows operating systems and bypassing antivirus protection. All the leaked documents are basically a user manual that the agency flagged as "secret" and that are supposed to be only accessed by the members of the agency, WikiLeaks claims. Grasshopper: Customized Malware Builder Framework According to the leaked documents, Grasshopper framework allows the agency members to easily create custom malware, depending upon the technical details, such as what operating system and antivirus the targets are using. The Grasshopper framework then automatically puts together several components sufficient for attack

Disable TELNET! Cisco finds 0-Day in CIA Dump affecting over 300 Network Switch Models

Disable TELNET! Cisco finds 0-Day in CIA Dump affecting over 300 Network Switch Models
March 20, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Cisco is warning of a new critical zero-day IOS / IOS XE vulnerability that affects more than 300 of its switch models. The company identified this highest level of vulnerability in its product while analyzing " Vault 7 " — a roughly 8,761 documents and files leaked by Wikileaks last week, claiming to detail hacking tools and tactics of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The vulnerability resides in the Cluster Management Protocol (CMP) processing code in Cisco IOS and Cisco IOS XE Software. If exploited, the flaw ( CVE-2017-3881 ) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to cause a reboot of an affected device or remotely execute malicious code on the device with elevated privileges to take full control of the device, Cisco says in its  advisory . The CMP protocol has been designed to pass around information about switch clusters between cluster members using Telnet or SSH. The vulnerability is in the default configuration of affected Cisco devices,

7 Things That Happened After WikiLeaks Dumped The CIA Hacking Files

7 Things That Happened After WikiLeaks Dumped The CIA Hacking Files
March 10, 2017Swati Khandelwal
This week WikiLeaks published "Vault 7" — a roughly 8,761 documents and files claiming to detail surveillance tools and tactics of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The leak outlined a broad range of flaws in smartphones and other devices that the agency uses to intercept communications and spy on its targets, making even China and Germany worried about the CIA's ability to hack all manner of devices. While WikiLeaks promised the "Vault 7" release is less than one percent of its 'Year Zero' disclosure, and there's more to come, we are here with some new developments on the CIA leak. But, before knowing about the latest developments in the CIA hacking tool leak, I would suggest you read my previous piece to know 10 important things about 'WikiLeaks-CIA Leak .' We believe the US intelligence agencies have access to much bigger technical resources and cyber capabilities than the leak exposed in the leak. The dump so far just
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