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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Vault 7

Ex-CIA Accused of Leaking Secret Hacking Tools to WikiLeaks Gets Mistrial

Ex-CIA Accused of Leaking Secret Hacking Tools to WikiLeaks Gets Mistrial
March 09, 2020Mohit Kumar
A federal judge in New York on Monday declared a mistrial in the case of a former CIA software engineer who was accused of stealing a massive trove of the agency's classified hacking and tools and leaking it to WikiLeaks whistleblower website. While the jury was unable to reach a verdict on eight counts of the theft and transmission of CIA's confidential documents, it did find ex-CIA Joshua Schulte guilty on two counts of contempt of court and making false statements to the FBI investigators. Schulte's lawyers last month asked the court for a mistrial in this case claiming the prosecutors withheld evidence that could exonerate his client during the four-week trial in the Manhattan federal court. Potentially, as a result of this, jurors failed to reach a unanimous agreement on the most severe charges against Schulte after deliberating since last week. Schulte, who designed hacking tools and malware for both the CIA and NSA to break into adversaries computers,

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

Vault 8: WikiLeaks Releases Source Code For Hive - CIA's Malware Control System

Vault 8: WikiLeaks Releases Source Code For Hive - CIA's Malware Control System
November 09, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Almost two months after releasing details of 23 different secret CIA hacking tool projects under Vault 7 series , Wikileaks today announced a new Vault 8 series that will reveal source codes and information about the backend infrastructure developed by the CIA hackers. Not just announcement, but the whistleblower organisation has also published its first batch of Vault 8 leak, releasing source code and development logs of Project Hive —a significant backend component the agency used to remotely control its malware covertly. In April this year, WikiLeaks disclosed a brief information about Project Hive , revealing that the project is an advanced command-and-control server (malware control system) that communicates with malware to send commands to execute specific tasks on the targets and receive exfiltrated information from the target machines. Hive is a multi-user all-in-one system that can be used by multiple CIA operators to remotely control multiple malware implants used

Wikileaks Unveils Project Protego: CIA's Secret Missile Control System

Wikileaks Unveils Project Protego: CIA's Secret Missile Control System
September 07, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Every week since March Wikileaks has been leaking secrets from the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which mainly focus on surveillance techniques and hacking tools employed by its agents. However this time, the whistleblower organisation has released something different from its previous Vault 7 leaks , because it's not about hacking and spying; instead, it's a—Missile Control System. Dubbed Project Protego , the PIC-based missile control system is installed on-board a Pratt and Whitney Aircraft (PWA) equipped with missile launch system, which gives it ability to hit air-to-air and air-to-ground targets. The latest leak contains four secret documents in total from the project Protego, along with "37 related documents (proprietary hardware/software manuals from Microchip Technology Inc)," WikiLeaks says. Leaked documents reveal system design, a guide on how to configure and build Protego images, and also suggest that all micro-controller un

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 '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

This CIA Tool Hacks Windows Computers Silently Over the Network

This CIA Tool Hacks Windows Computers Silently Over the Network
June 02, 2017Mohit Kumar
WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak , this time detailing an alleged CIA project that allowed the agency to turn Windows file servers into covert attack machines that can silently infect other computers of interest inside a targeted network. Codenamed Pandemic , the tool is a persistent implant for Microsoft Windows machines that share files with remote users on a local network. The documents leaked by the whistleblower organisation date from April 2014 to January 2015. According to WikiLeaks, Pandemic infect networks of Windows computers through the Server Message Block (SMB) file sharing protocol by replacing application code on-the-fly with a trojanized version of the software. "Pandemic is a tool which is run as kernel shellcode to install a file system filter driver," a leaked CIA manual reads. "The filter will 'replace' a target file with the given payload file when a remote user accesses the file via SMB (read-only, not w

WikiLeaks Reveals 'Athena' CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows

WikiLeaks Reveals 'Athena' CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows
May 19, 2017Mohit Kumar
WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak , detailing a spyware framework – which "provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers" – allegedly being used by the CIA that works against every version of Microsoft's Windows operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 10. Dubbed Athena/Hera , the spyware has been designed to take full control over the infected Windows PCs remotely, allowing the agency to perform all sorts of things on the target machine, including deleting data or uploading malicious software, and stealing data and send them to CIA server. The leak, which includes a user manual of Athena, overview of the technology, and demonstration on how to use this spyware, reveals that the program has two implications: Primary: Athena for XP to Windows 10  Secondary: Hera for Windows 8 through Windows 10 According to the whistleblower organization, Athena has the ability to allow the CIA agents to modify its co

WikiLeaks Reveals 'AfterMidnight' & 'Assassin' CIA Windows Malware Frameworks

WikiLeaks Reveals 'AfterMidnight' & 'Assassin' CIA Windows Malware Frameworks
May 15, 2017Swati Khandelwal
When the world was dealing with the threat of the self-spreading WannaCry ransomware , WikiLeaks released a new batch of CIA Vault 7 leaks , detailing two apparent CIA malware frameworks for the Microsoft Windows platform. Dubbed " AfterMidnight " and " Assassin ," both malware programs are designed to monitor and report back actions on the infected remote host computer running the Windows operating system and execute malicious actions specified by the CIA. Since March, WikiLeaks has published hundreds of thousands of documents and secret hacking tools that the group claims came from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This latest batch is the 8th release in the whistleblowing organization's 'Vault 7' series. 'AfterMidnight' Malware Framework According to a statement from WikiLeaks, 'AfterMidnight' allows its operators to dynamically load and execute malicious payload on a target system. The main controller of the ma

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

WikiLeaks Reveals 'Marble' Source Code that CIA Used to Frame Russia and China

WikiLeaks Reveals 'Marble' Source Code that CIA Used to Frame Russia and China
March 31, 2017Mohit Kumar
WikiLeaks published hundreds of more files from the Vault 7 series today which, it claims, show how CIA can mask its hacking attacks to make it look like it came from other countries, including Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. Dubbed " Marble ," the part 3 of CIA files contains 676 source code files of a secret anti-forensic Marble Framework, which is basically an obfuscator or a packer used to hide the true source of CIA malware. The CIA's Marble Framework tool includes a variety of different algorithm with foreign language text intentionally inserted into the malware source code to fool security analysts and falsely attribute attacks to the wrong nation. The leaked files indicate that the Marble's source code includes Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi languages, as well as English, which shows that the CIA has engaged in clever hacking games. "Marble is used to hamper[ing] forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributin
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