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Available Expert - Wikileaks releases data cache on alleged CIA hacking

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Queen's University surveillance expert David Murakami Wood is available to comment on this morning's release of alleged CIA surveillance and hacking tools by Wikileaks. Some of the findings included in the nearly 8,500 document release includes reports that the CIA developed exploits for use against iPhones, Android devices, Windows computers and even smart televisions.

"These dumps show that the CIA has clearly offensive capabilities for hacking and have operated in other countries," says Dr. Murakami Wood. "There is real hyporcrisy around the accusations the U.S. makes against other states in this area. It's important to note that the CIA is not even the formally-designated cybersecurity agency - that's the National Security Agency (NSA). The USA has immense hacking capability."

Dr. Murakami Wood notes that media reports on the Wikileaks release have been rife with misunderstandings about whether particular apps are really 'secure' etc. He notes that there are huge differences in the complexity of tools needed for particular hardware and software platforms to be compromised. He warns about making claims about relatively secure platforms that will drive users away from them to even less secure systems that just don't happen to be mentioned in reports. 

"Intelligence agencies can most likely hack any communications that they target specifically," he adds. "However, they aren't targeting everyone, and nor can they even with contemporary technologies." 

Dr. Murakami Wood is an associate professor in the Queen's University Department of Sociology and the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Surveillance Studies. He has spoken in the media on a wide range of topics relating to surveillance - with a particular focus on surveillance technology.

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