WikiLeaks’ recent release claims to show evidence that agencies like the CIA hacks into our everyday devices and that the US government possesses unimaginable hacking powers that undermine the security that smartphones and other gadgets tend to have.
Among other things, the leak shows that CIA is capable of hacking into your smartphone – be it iOS or Android. The CIA has at its disposal a multitude of ways through which it can breach our personal space, the leak claims. They can eavesdrop on any internet connected device and covertly watch or track your daily movements without you even finding out.
According to WikiLeaks, the CIA had at its disposal dozens of vulnerabilities that they didn’t disclose to the vendors and makers of the gadgets, but instead resorted to conducting a variety of attacks. This effectively means that major smartphone OS makers including Apple, Google and Microsoft didn’t know about these vulnerabilities and weren’t able to offer the necessary fixes.
WikiLeaks claims that serious vulnerabilities if left unpatched not only puts the population at risk, but also puts critical infrastructure at risk of massive cyber attacks from non-state as well as state-sponsored attackers. WikiLeaks points out that if CIA managed to find these zero-day vulnerabilities, other agencies and people around the world can also find them.
There is no guarantee that these documents are authentic, but if they are they reveal a stark reality: your digital presence isn’t private and there is no digital conversation, photo or other slice of life that you can shield from the spies and other intruders prying into your gadgets including smartphones, personal computers, tablets or just about any other device you use that is connected to the internet.
While it isn’t possible for you to prevent yourself from zero-day exploits, you can limit the attack surface on your gadgets and Internet connected devices by ensuring that they are running the latest version of the operating system as well as all the apps. Latest versions of the OS as well as apps come with fixes to all known flaws thereby providing you a layer of security against existing vulnerabilities.