Monday, April 24, 2017

Wikileaks Hacking Led To Increase Web Fixes

Wikileaks CIA
Tech companies are reportedly stepping up information sharing to protect users from prying eyes. A security software executive revealed this move a few days ago after WikiLeaks released a trove of documents detailing the CIA's capacity to hack all manner of devices.

Dozens of firms rushed to contain the damage from possible security weak points following the anti-secrecy organization's revelations, although some said they needed more detailed information on what the U.S. intelligence agency was up to before they can thwart suspected, but previously hidden attacks.

Sinan Eren, vice president of Czech anti-virus software maker Avast, called on mobile software makers Apple and Google to supply security firms with privileged access to their devices to offer immediate fixes to known bugs.

"We can prevent attacks in real time if we were given the hooks into the mobile operating system," Eren said in a phone interview from Silicon Valley, where he is located.

"If we can drive a paradigm shift where mobile platforms don't shut off access, we’ll be better able to detect when hackers are hiding in a mobile (phone)", he said.

Avast, which counts more than 400 million users of its anti-virus software worldwide, was named in the Wikileaks documents as one of the security vendors targeted by the CIA in a leaked page labelled "secret" but with no further details.

The leaks - which Wikileaks described as the biggest in the Central Intelligence Agency's history - had enough technical details for security experts and product vendors to recognize widespread compromises exist. However, they provided few specifics needed to offer quick fixes.

Reuters could not immediately verify the validity of the published documents, but several contractors and private cyber security experts said the materials appear to be legitimate.

The 8,761 leaked documents list a wealth of security attacks on Apple and Google Android smartphones carried by billions of consumers, as well as top computer operating systems - Windows, Linux and Apple Mac - and six of the world's main web browsers.

Apple said in a statement that nearly 80 percent of iPhone users run its current iOS software with the latest security patches. "Many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities," Apple said on Tuesday. The statement made no reference to attacks on its computer software.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while a Microsoft spokeswoman said: "We're aware of the report and are looking into it."

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