US CIA's delinquency rattles global tech giants
Apple and Samsung vowed to quickly fix any vulnerabilities in their products following WikiLeaks' disclosure of an alleged CIA hacking arsenal capable of breaking into iPhones and other devices.
The archive released on Tuesday claims to show the CIA exploiting weaknesses it discovers in hardware and software systems - without informing manufacturers of the flaws in question.
"While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked on Thursday were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities," Apple said in an emailed statement.
"We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates."
Samsung offered a similar response.
"Protecting consumers' privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung," a statement from the South Korean electronics giant said.
"We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter."
WikiLeaks claims the documents it released on Tuesday are part of a vast trove of leaked CIA documents, tools and code representing "the majority of its hacking arsenal."
The CIA would neither confirm nor deny the documents were genuine.
According to the documents, the CIA has produced more than 1,000 malware systems - viruses, trojans, and other software that can infiltrate and take control of target electronics.
These hacking tools have allegedly targeted iPhones, Android systems such as the personal phone reportedly still used by President Donald Trump, popular Microsoft software, and Samsung smart TVs.
Trump aide attacks 'double standard' over WikiLeaks dump
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer slammed the "double standard" in the level of interest over CIA documents purportedly posted by WikiLeaks this week and a batch of emails taken from the inbox of a prominent Democrat and posted last year.
Spicer on Wednesday connected the latest WikiLeaks document dump to surveillance efforts under the Obama administration, days after President Donald Trump levelled his unsubstantiated claim that Obama tapped the GOP candidate's phones during the 2016 campaign, CNN reported.
And then he took to arguing forcefully that there was a "double standard" when it comes to the level of outrage elicited by different leaks.
"It's interesting how there's sort of a double standard with when the leaks occur, how much outrage there is," Spicer said. His comments came as he relayed Trump's "concern" about the leaks and said Americans should be "outraged" by the release of classified information.
"This is the kind of disclosure that undermines our country, our security and our well-being,"Spicer said.
Spicer's claims came as he faced questions about a double standard on the President's part in condemning this leak while he praised WikiLeaks' publication of emails related to his rival Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.
"I love WikiLeaks!" Trump proclaimed on the stump last year as he took to reading before crowds of cheering supporters hacked emails that the site released.
Spicer said that there is a "massive, massive difference" between the two disclosures.
"There is a big difference between disclosing Podesta - John Podesta's Gmail accounts about a back-and-forth and his undermining of Hillary Clinton and his thoughts on her on a personal nature, and the leaking of classified information," Spicer said.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly lauded WikiLeaks for releasing emails hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's email account, several of which portrayed Clinton in an unfavourable light.
The US intelligence community concluded those emails were hacked and released to WikiLeaks by Russian sources as part of a campaign to hurt Clinton.
WikiLeaks posted more than 8,700 documents on Tuesday that it claimed were taken from the CIA's high-security network. The records contained details of the intelligence agency's hacking capabilities.
Spicer declined to confirm or deny that the documents originated in the CIA.
Meanwhile, Senator John McCain raised an alarm about the WikiLeaks' dump.
The Senate Armed Services chairman said the situation is "really serious" and requires a wholesale evaluation of who is allowed to have access to such classified materials, reported Politico.
"You are now looking at ways intelligence agencies do business being revealed. It has all kind of ramifications. It's going to cause a real fundamental evaluation of everything we do, including FISA," McCain said, referring to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. "The first priority is: Who's getting this information? Who's able to reveal the information?" McCain said either CIA has been hacked or a contractor is leaking documents, reminiscent of when Snowden distributed documents to news organisations.
China urges US to 'stop spying' after WikiLeaks release
China on Thursday urged the US to stop tapping phones, monitoring, spying and launching cyber attacks on China and other countries, after WikiLeaks released what it called data on hacking carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said during a press conference that China is concerned about the situation and warned that Beijing will firmly safeguard its own cyber security, reported Efe news.
China "is ready to enhance dialogue and cooperation with the international community to formulate a set of international rules on cyberspace acceptable to all parties under the UN framework", said Geng.
Wikileaks, led by Australia's Julian Assange, said that its "Vault 7" series, released with the chapter "Year Zero" covering the period 2013 to 2016 with 8,761 documents, is the biggest intelligence data leak in history.
The documents explain how the CIA is capable of intercepting WhatsApp or Sina Weibo - Chinese equivalent of Twitter - messages and use methods to blame other countries for digital spying, according to the report.
The Chinese response to the WikiLeaks release coincided with Beijing's reaction to the latest global human rights report published annually by the US in which Washington criticised the situation in China.
China, in its counter-report, accused the US of considering itself to be the human rights judge while ignoring its own domestic issues.
The Beijing report was released a week after the US report, in which Chinese authorities are accused of serious human rights violations, including the suppression of dissent, forced confessions by detainees, and the torture and harassment of media, dissidents, activists and lawyers. The Chinese document, according to the report, also denounced America's "discriminatory behaviour towards minorities", the worst wage gap between the blacks and the whites in four decades alongside the growing marginalisation of Muslim communities.