New York, March 24: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is able to permanently infect an Apple Mac computer so that even reinstalling the operating system will not erase the bug, according to documents published today by WikiLeaks.
In its second release allegedly from the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA’s) arsenal of hacking tools, WikiLeaks also said that it appears the United States spy agency has been able since 2008 to insert it bugs onto new and unused Apple iPhones by intervening in Apple’s supply and distribution network.
The release follows the initial publication on March 9 by the anti-secrecy group of thousands of pages of instructions and code from what it called the entire Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) arsenal of hacking tools.
Meanwhile, Security experts says that the exploits are credible, but suggest they pose little threat to normal users. They say that many of the tricks published by Wikileaks are older — the Apple iPhone hack involves the 3G model from 2008, for instance. The techniques also typically require physical access to devices, something the Central Intelligence Agency would use only for targeted individuals, not a broader population.
The documents are generally believed to be genuine although the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has not acknowledged this.
The publication of the documents sparked a United States counterintelligence investigation into how the documents leaked out from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and made their way to WikiLeaks, with some people pointing fingers at the agency’s use of private subcontractors as a likely source.
The newest documents focus on how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) targets Apple’s popular personal electronics to spy on users.
“The most notable part of this latest WikiLeaks release is that it shows the Central Intelligence Agency doing exactly what we pay them to — exploit specific targets with limited attacks to support our national interests,” said Rich Mogull, Chief Executive of the security research firm Securosis.
Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Central Intelligence Agency has not commented on the authenticity of this and earlier WikiLeaks revelations, but has previously said it complies with a legal prohibition against electronic surveillance “targeting individuals here at home, including our fellow Americans.” The agency declined further comment on Thursday.