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Fri Mar 10, 2017, 08:28 AM

The truth about the wikileaks CIA cache..

by Zeynep Tufekci

Yet on closer inspection, this turned out to be misleading. Neither Signal nor WhatsApp, for example, appears by name in any of the alleged C.I.A. files in the cache. (Using automated tools to search the whole database, as security researchers subsequently did, turned up no hits.) More important, the hacking methods described in the documents do not, in fact, include the ability to bypass such encrypted apps — at least not in the sense of “bypass” that had seemed so alarming. Indeed, if anything, the C.I.A. documents in the cache confirm the strength of encryption technologies.

What had gone wrong? There were two culprits: an honest (if careless) misunderstanding about technology on the part of the press; and yet another shrewd misinformation campaign orchestrated by WikiLeaks.


Security experts I spoke with, however, stressed that these techniques appear to be mostly known methods — some of them learned from academic and other open conferences — and that there were no big surprises or unexpected wizardry.In other words, the cache reminds us that if your phone is hacked, the Signal or WhatsApp messages on it are not secure. This should not come as a surprise. If an intelligence agency, or a nosy sibling, can get you to install, say, a “key logger” on your phone, either one can bypass the encrypted communication app.

Which brings us to WikiLeaks’ misinformation campaign. An accurate tweet accompanying the cache would have said something like, “If the C.I.A. goes after your specific phone and hacks it, the agency can look at its content.” But that, of course, wouldn’t have caused alarm and defeatism about the prospects of secure conversations.

We’ve seen WikiLeaks do this before. Last July, right after the attempted coup in Turkey, WikiLeaks promised, with much fanfare, to release emails belonging to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party. What WikiLeaks ultimately released, however, was nothing but mundane mailing lists of tens of thousands of ordinary people who discussed politics online. Back then, too, the ruse worked: Many Western journalists had hyped these non-leaks.


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Response to JHan (Original post)

Fri Mar 10, 2017, 08:36 AM

1. Wikileaks is desperate to be heroes and to get headlines. That's all they care about.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 10, 2017, 08:40 AM

2. Yes and what's tragic is people fall for it time and time again...

They prime minds to accept their false narratives.

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Response to JHan (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 10, 2017, 08:45 AM

4. I've seen enough of those people here on DU.

Shining heroes in search of an enemy that justifies their self-proclaimed status as heroes. They need the world to be black&white, good&evil, because otherwise they would be boring nobodies who spend too much time on the internet.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 10, 2017, 08:54 AM

6. lol..... I haven't noticed them much on here but I certainly know the type :P



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Response to JHan (Original post)

Fri Mar 10, 2017, 08:44 AM

3. Thank you!

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Response to JHan (Original post)

Fri Mar 10, 2017, 08:53 AM

5. Exactly. Capability is not the same as illegality. Too many can't see the difference.

 

For instance, I have the capability of walking into a mall and shooting bystanders. Does that make me a threat needing to be dealt with?
[hr][font color="blue"][center]No squirrels were harmed in the making of this post. Yet.[/center][/font][hr]

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