Assange: WikiLeaks Will Give Tech Firms Leaked Docs to Fight CIA ‘Cyberweapons’
Companies will get ‘some exclusive access…so that the fixes can be developed and pushed out, so people can be secure’
WikiLeaks will give technology companies exclusive access to alleged CIA documents to help them repair security flaws that allowed the government to spy on individuals through their smart devices, the organization’s founder Julian Assange said Thursday.
“Considering what we think is the best way to proceed and hearing these calls from some of the manufacturers, we have decided to work with them to give them some exclusive access to the additional technical details that we have so that the fixes can be developed and pushed out, so people can be secure,” Assange said in a Facebook live address from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has lived in exile since 2012.
WikiLeaks on Tuesday released a trove of documents purporting to show that the CIA exploited security flaws in mobile phones, smart TVs, and other devices that allowed the intelligence agency to listen in on users in their own homes. But the documents did not disclose what those flaws actually were—instead showing user guides, developer manuals, and other communications.
The group said it held back publishing that information to “[avoid] the distribution of ‘armed’ cyberweapons” until there was a “consensus” on how to dismantle them.
Once they have been disarmed, WikiLeaks would post the code publicly, Assange said.
CIA spokesman Dean Boyd responded to Assange’s comments by stating that he was “not exactly a bastion of truth and integrity.”
WikiLeaks fired back, “but he literally won the award for just that,” referring to the 2010 honor Assange received from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, an organization founded by retired CIA officers that recognizes intelligence whistleblowers.
During the press conference, Assange again reiterated the group’s claim that the documents show the CIA has lost its grip on its vast surveillance enterprise.
“The Central Intelligence Agency lost control of its entire cyberweapons arsenal,” Assange said. “This is an historic act of devastating incompetence to have created such an arsenal and stored it all in one place and not secured it.”