TECH NEWS: The CIA is stated to have made use of formerly unknown flaws in Apple’s iOS operating system
Several of the tech firms whose products have been allegedly compromised by the CIA have given their first reactions to the claims.
Wikileaks published thousands of documents said to detail the US spy agency’s hacking tools on Tuesday.
They included allegations the CIA had developed ways to listen in on smartphone and smart TV microphones.
Apple’s statement was the most detailed, saying it had already addressed some of the vulnerabilities.
“The technology built into recently’s iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we’re constantly working to keep it that way,” it said.
“Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80% of users running the most recent version of our operating system.
“While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked recently were already patched in the most recent iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities.
“We always urge customers to download the most recent iOS to make sure they have the most recent security update.”
Samsung – whose F8000 series of televisions was statedly compromised via a USB connection-based hack co-developed with the UK’s MI5 agency – was briefer.
“Protecting consumers’ privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung,” it said.
“We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter.”
The leaks also claimed that the CIA had created malware to target PCs running Microsoft’s Windows operating system.
“We are aware of the report and are looking into it,” a spokesman from Microsoft said.
Google declined to comment about allegations that the CIA was able to “penetrate, infest and control” Android phones because of its discovery and acquisition of “zero day” bugs – formerly unknown flaws in the operating system’s code.
Likewise, the Linux Foundation has yet to publicly react to claims the agency had created “attack and control systems” that could hijack computers powered by Linux-based software.
The World Wide Web Foundation – which campaigns for internet privacy – said the US government needed to issue a detailed response.
“Governments should be safeguarding the digital privacy and security of their citizens, but these alleged actions by the CIA do just the opposite,” said the organisation’s policy director Craig Fagan.
“Weaponising everyday products such as TVs and smartphones – and failing to disclose vulnerabilities to manufacturers – is dangerous and short-sighted.
“If these new assertions prove true, we call on the Trump administration and other governments to stamp out such practices.”