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Tech giants 'urgently' study CIA leaks

  
Several of the tech firms whose products have been allegedly compromised by the CIA have given their first reactions to the claims.
 
Wikileaks published thousands of documents said to detail the US spy agency's hacking tools on Tuesday. They included allegations the CIA had developed ways to listen in on smartphone and smart TV microphones.
 
Apple's statement was the most detailed, saying it had already addressed some of the vulnerabilities. "The technology built into today's iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we're constantly working to keep it that way," it said. "Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80% of users running the latest version of our operating system. While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will 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 update."
 
Samsung - whose F8000 series of televisions was reportedly compromised via a hack co-developed with the UK's MI5 agency - was briefer. "Protecting consumers' privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung," it said. "We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter."
 
The leaks also claimed that the CIA had created malware to target PCs running Microsoft's Windows operating system. "We are aware of the report and are looking into it," a spokesman from Microsoft said.
 
Google declined to comment about allegations that the CIA was able to "penetrate, infest and control" Android phones due to its discovery and acquisition of "zero day" bugs - previously unknown flaws in the operating system's code. Likewise, the Linux Foundation has yet to publicly react to claims the agency had created "attack and control systems" that could hijack computers powered by Linux-based software.
 
The CIA has not confirmed whether the documents - said to date between 2013 to 2016 - are real. But one of its former chiefs was concerned by their publication. "If what I have read is true, then this seems to be an incredibly damaging leak in terms of the tactics, techniques, procedures and tools that were used by the Central Intelligence Agency to conduct legitimate foreign intelligence," ex-CIA director Michael Hayden said. "In other words, it's made my country and my country's friends less safe."
 
But one expert said the fact that the CIA had targeted such a wide range of technology was no surprise. "The story here isn't that the CIA hacks people. Of course they do; taxpayers would be right to be annoyed if that weren't the case," blogged Nicholas Weaver, a security researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley. "The CIA's job, after all, is [to] collect intelligence, and while its primary purview is human intelligence, hacking systems interacts synergistically with that collection. The actual headline here is that someone apparently managed to compromise a Top Secret CIA development environment, exfiltrate a whole host of material, and is now releasing it to the world... now the world wants to know who, and how, and why."
 
 
 
 

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