The CIA Can Spy on You with Your Phone, Your Car and Your TV

It sounds like something out of a John le Carré spy novel. But it’s apparently all too real.

The Central Intelligence Agency can spy on you through your smartphone, your car … even your TV.

That’s the latest revelation from the notorious anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks. On Tuesday, it made public thousands of CIA files that reveal secret cyber-tools the agency uses.

These tools include the ability to hack into cell phones, TVs, internet-connected cars and other ordinary devices … and subsequently convert them into surveillance tools.

The stunning capabilities are described in the so-called “Vault 7” document release.

WikiLeaks published 7,818 web pages and 943 attachments from a development groupware that’s used by the CIA’s engineers. And there’s allegedly more where those came from.

Here’s what we know now …

The CIA’s spying capabilities include recording the sounds, images and the private text messages of users before the encryption process even takes place.

In other words, the CIA — and by extension “Big Brother” — owns your communications, your tech gadgets … and, basically, you.

I guess I’d have to say that’s more Orwell than le Carré.

So, what are the most outrageous of these government surveillance programs?

Initial reports on the WikiLeaks documents show that the CIA has a specialized unit that can steal data from Apple (AAPL) products like the iPhone and the iPad. There’s also a specialized unit that can steal data from Google’s (GOOGL) Android mobile operating system.

These units can create computer malware based on the “zero day” exploits that compromised companies are not even aware of. (“Zero” refers to how much time a company has. That is, between when it finds a hole in its software and an attacker possibly exploiting it.)

According to WikiLeaks, the malware for smartphones allows the CIA to …

“bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Weibo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the ‘smart’ phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.”

So, if you thought you were being “safe” by using one of these apps, think again.

***

In a most-interesting WikiLeaks reveal, the documents detail the CIA’s development of a “Fake Off” mode to use on Samsung smart televisions.

The Fake Off mode essentially turns these TVs into microphones that are capable of recording and submitting data directly to the CIA.

Related story:  Your Smart TV May be Spying on You

Other major revelations here include the CIA’s virtual “menu” of hacking tools.

A program called “Fine Dining” allows case officers to identify specific cyber espionage needs. They can receive hacking tools tailored to meet those needs.

The agency’s “UMBRAGE” group reportedly keeps what WikiLeaks calls a “substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states.”

Other “states” here means other state actors, including Russia. This virtual library of “digital fingerprints” could be used to help “misdirect attribution.”

That revelation could call into question who is responsible for those DNC hacks during the presidential campaign.

Yet that’s also a reason why WikiLeaks could have released all these documents. It may want to make it appear that the Russians had nothing to do with the DNC hacks.

Related story: Is ‘Hacktivism’ the New Cyber Enemy?

The conspiratorial speculation on why these documents were made public right now … and, more importantly, who was the source of these documents from within the intelligence community … could go on ad infinitum.

To me, these revelations confirm many other conspiratorial fears about just how invasive the CIA’s intelligence capabilities are.

I suppose if those capabilities are focused on identifying, tracking and otherwise thwarting the bad intentions of our nation’s enemies, then that’s largely a good thing.

If, however, these capabilities can be easily trained to spy on American citizens, without a warrant or probable cause, then that is most definitely not a good thing.

Unfortunately, the latest WikiLeaks reveal should serve as a reminder that digital spying is here to stay … and that it’s only likely to continue to expand from here.

Consider yourself warned.

***

What do you think about the WikiLeaks Vault 7 reveal? Do the agency’s reported capabilities frighten you? Or, are you more concerned with who may have compromised our national security with this revelation? I want to know what you think, so let me know by leaving me a comment on our website or by sending me an e-mail.

***

The markets saw red, and not just because so many were wearing that color in honor of International Women’s Day.

Today’s red-hot ADP jobs data showed that U.S. employers hired 298,000 people in February. Analysts had expected the private sector to add 190,000 jobs.

And while that’s good news for the economy, you guessed it … this also bolsters the case for a rate hike to come out of the Fed meeting one week from today.

The broader markets dipped around noon, with the Dow Industrials closing in the red by 69 points (-0.3%).

• In honor of International Women’s Day, remember that it pays to “invest like a girl.” Just ask investors in the SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index (SHE), which some of the brightest investment minds in the country just voted The Best New ETF of 2016.

• And if you’re still in the celebrating mood tomorrow, March 9 marks the eight-year anniversary of the bull market. Since then, the S&P 500 Total Return Index is up 315%. However, is the bottom of the bear market really the same thing as the beginning of a bull market? If that’s not the case, then some say the bull may only be four years old. (MarketWatch)

• Oil fell 5.4%, its biggest daily loss in more than a year, after U.S. inventories rose for the ninth-straight week. The 8.2-million-barrel rise, four times what analysts expected, was no doubt a topic in Houston today. There, oil producers from the U.S., Russia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf are gathered to talk about the industry’s future.

• What would you do with 40 more minutes each day? Moving to Mars could net you an extra 39 minutes and 35 seconds. But if you want to get that much more sleep each day, take note. Many scientists living on “Mars time” only manage to get six hours of shut-eye a night, with some 75% needing some form of sleep medication. (FiveThirtyEight)

Good luck and happy investing,

Brad Hoppmann
Publisher
Uncommon Wisdom Daily

Your thoughts on “The CIA Can Spy on You with Your Phone, Your Car and Your TV”

  1. Well, the CIA and the NSA aren’t going to learn any more than the manufactures learn such as how many hours you use watching TV, what programs you watch, how many commercials you see, They are NOT going to learn if you are planning to overthrow the government, Bomb the Whitehouse, or any other subversive activity. So, they can have fun loading all their recording equipment wit useless information.

  2. We live in an insane period of time, and the greedy cycopathes have full control.
    It will get much much worse to the extent that we all may reach our demise very soon.

  3. It sounds to me that you have arrived at the dance very, very, late. I have had a notion that this has been occurring even before 1984. I know people who will disconnect that phone battery and even put their electronics in a Faraday’s cage. I had most of this confirmed when the USAF was targeting offices/control sites during the Iraq war. If you ever read the instruction manual that is supplied with your electronics, you will see that they almost always mention FCC interference. Now, what do you think is being transmitted? If they can turn off a speeding car from the air in Florida, can you imagine the other “stuff” they can do?

  4. I always enjoy your articles because they are thought stimulating. But it always amazes me at the number of Americans that believe law enforcement has any trouble getting a search warrant. If you would look into it, they are rarely declined. I wish that Americans would get over being naive and questions the motives of “THE GOVERNMENT”.

  5. I don’t own a smart car, TV or phone… for obvious reasons. We’ll see how long I can manage without them. Hopefully by the time I ‘need’ them a cure for the disease will have been found! 🙂

  6. I love the conspiracy theorists who’ve replied above. They’re the source, or inspiration, for our POTUS’ tweets. I know, the CIA is our enemy, and V. Putin is our friend. And everyone in the intelligence community leaks and lies. Through The Looking Glass!!!

  7. We are paying our government to spy on us….This is not the definition of freedom, this is not life’s liberty. Personal privacy is just as intimate as the right to take a breath, sing, write speak and move, without intrusion…. seen or unseen. Wikileaks are heros. This country has become something the founding fathers never dreamed …for shame for shame. America will never be great again with this subversive suspicion, and unpermitted invasion of our rights of privacy

  8. Just remember that anything the CIA can to you by spying, the Russian and Chinese espionage services can “do” a lot better!

  9. Just one more reason we cannot trust our government – supposedly of the people, by the people, and for the people – WHAT HAPPENED? It’s not wonder that the majority voted for Trump hoping that he will help put a stop our government’s treacherous acts against its own people. What arrogance! Can a government be tried for treason?

  10. There is a delicate balance between privacy and security that must always be kept in check. But given the terrorist attacks and what our democratic process went through during the election last year I can understand why the intelligence agencies are tilting the balance toward security. And the timing of the release by wikileaks, in my opinion, is not coincidental since wikileaks has proven that it is just an arm of the Russian propaganda machine.

  11. I praise WikiLeaks for exposing the fact that our very own government is spying or can spy on everyday average citizens. Its not supposed to be our trusted government violating our rights and privacy. Mr OBlenis , be careful of your complacency. One day you just might find yourself without any rights at all and our government is counting on just that with most of us, the complacent I dont care American citizens. Take it away, grab a little more day by day and you wont realize it until its all gone. Wake up America, its coming to a neighborhood near you soon! This isnt about shame or having done anything illegal. Its about the basic right to privacy.

    The leaks that are occuring are because they are spying on US. It’s not right.

  12. If they can hack into my iPhone, then why have there been any news cases and lawsuits when the iPhone would not allow it to be used with apples break in assistance? For instance, the Boston Marathon?

  13. If the government has these capabilities then it won’t be long before “hackers” can do the same. In the “Internet of Things” world we live in, there are too many things to go wrong. Intercepting or manipulating banking transactions, or taking control of self driving cars are just two examples. The genie is out of the bottle until someone invents/creates a safe way of making internet and wireless traffic secure.

  14. good one brad. yes, its later than we think. george orwell got it wrong in that ‘1984’ should read ‘2017’. lol we have a mob called a.s.i.o. here in oz( a branch of the c.i.a.?) its all secret you know. b.t.w. is there any truth in the story that hillary clinton received US$500million from the russians for their acquisition of the major interests in most of the u.s.a. uranium mines? actually vladimer p. is very angry with hillary because the price went up on the original agreement. he claimed that that woman is never satisfied. so one can see that politicians have strange bedfellows. and the m.s.m is ever so silent. maybe geoff epstein can explain the deafening silence whenever dear hillary is almost exposed on something else(its neverending). but the clinton ‘body count’ rises and nobody says nuffin’. cheers, ron

  15. I have nothing that I am ashamed of. The government can spy on me all it wants to.I hope nobody spends too much time or money spying on my daily activities. The only fear I have is for the day when an agency can read my thoughts.

  16. Yawn…ho-hum… twenty year old news.. it all started initially by rerouting all phone calls through a Canadian private agency that used sophisticated computerized detection for key words and phrases, cutting edge technology twenty years ago. This is how the U.S. government claimed that they never spied on anyone, they didn’t… it was those darn Canadians. The sleazy U.S. government (Whoops, I was just flagged) just paid the foreign business through a slush fund. Fast forward to today and they can now spy on us live. Many people in the military told me years ago about the TV’s and the false “off”. Be very careful what you say and do in the presence of your TV and phone! Thank God for Wikileaks! The uninformed finally are getting a clue as to who the enemy really is. Note: it’s later than you think.

  17. What I think is it may be no coincidence that Samsung is having such bad “luck”! Maybe they told ciachumps to eff off? Their TVs and phones were sabotaged? Could be.

  18. I sure hope they can! I am very much more concerned about our nation’s security than I am about people’s precious privacy, and I think Wikileaks and others who compromise it should be punished. If you don’t want anyone to know what you said or wrote THEN DON’T SAY OR WRITE IT! It’s that simple.

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