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Tech Companies Respond to Alleged CIA Hacking Tools

  • VOA News

An Apple iPhone 7 and the company logo are seen in this picture taken, Feb. 1, 2017.

Major technology firms say they are moving to fix any vulnerabilities in their operating systems, a day after WikiLeaks released documents pertaining to an alleged CIA hacking arsenal capable of spying on people through microphones in mobile phones and other electronic devices, such as smart televisions.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Apple said it already had addressed many of the issues identified in the WikiLeaks documents, but said it would “continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities."

"We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates," Apple said.

The company flag of Samsung Electronics (R) flutters next to the South Korean national flag in Seoul, South Korea, Jan. 16, 2017
The company flag of Samsung Electronics (R) flutters next to the South Korean national flag in Seoul, South Korea, Jan. 16, 2017



Samsung made a similar comment, saying it was aware of the report and “urgently looking into the matter.”

"Protecting consumers' privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung," the South Korean electronics company said.

According to the WikiLeaks documents, the CIA identified weaknesses within the software used by Apple, Google, Microsoft and other U.S.-based manufacturers; but, instead of informing the companies of the vulnerabilities, the CIA “hoarded” the exploits, leaving people open to potential hacking.

“By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone; at the expense of leaving everyone hackable,” WikiLeaks said in a statement accompanying the release of the documents.

The CIA would neither confirm nor deny the legitimacy of the documents, although WikiLeaks boasts a nearly perfect record on the authenticity of the documents it publishes.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, White House Spokesman Sean Spicer likened the WikiLeaks release to recent information leaks from within the White House, and said it should serve as "a cause for concern" for all Americans.

“I think the idea that we are having these ongoing disclosures of national security and classified information should be something that everybody is outraged about in this country,” he said. “This is the kind of disclosure that undermines our country, our security and our well-being."

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