Friday, March 17, 2017

The Wikileaks CIA Leak: Nothing shocking, but still interesting


Last week, leak website Wikileaks published more than 8,000 documents supposedly leaked from the secret files of the US Central Intelligence Agency. The leak organization says that those pages are less than 1% of what it has and that it's going to publish more as time goes by and they've had time to review the full leak for both accuracy and potentially damaging information that should not be made public. While you probably remember the 2013 leak of NSA documents by Edward Snowden, you also probably notice that public reaction to this leak has proven to be very different.

For the most part, the public, the media, and the government, haven't reacted strongly to this leak at all. Sure, there was some sabre rattling by the government about 'bringing the full force of US law' on Wikileaks and a few officials officially condemned the leak, but it was definitely not met with the shock and immediate reaction that Snowden's leaks were. Snowden's leaks forced several massive changes in the industry while the Vault 7 leaks will likely only effect a fairly small segment of the industry and a handful of companies. What's the difference? Why have the CIA leaks been so...trivial?

Because they confirmed what we pretty much already knew.

For over a decade, we've heard rumors that the CIA had cyber-capabilities that could do things like hack cars control smart televisions, break into phones, and of course, bypass the security of operating systems like Microsoft Windows. And, while we all knew it wasn't supposed to be happening, we knew the CIA probably didn't limit its attacks to foreign enemies. Just about everything in the CIA leaks is nothing but a confirmation of what we've known for a long time. Nothing new to see here. We can move on.

To me, what will be more interesting than the leaks themselves is how the companies effected will respond to the leaks. Now we don't just have confirmation that attacks are happening but how those attacks are being carried out. This gives companies a unique opportunity to step up, fix those vulnerabilities, and protect their users. Sitting back and watching how companies deal with these issues and how quickly and decisively they deal with them will be a telltale sign of how serious they are about keeping our data safe and, really, who's "side" are they truly on. Watch carefully, dear reader, there is much to be learned here.

Eventually, as Wikileaks releases more information into Vault 7, we might learn something that shocks us or creates the waves that the Snowden leaks did years ago, but I don't think we will. We know the CIA is shady, secretive, and doing all sorts of crazy experiments to forward their missions. This is an agency that's admitted to human experimentation in the past. Why would we be shocked that they go after our personal information or devise new ways to spy on us?
In the end, the biggest part of this story is how little people are actually shocked by these revelations and what that lack of shock says about our trust in our own government.

1 comment:

Dreami Tom said...

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