A few years ago I speculated that one day some unenthused young contract worker at an Intelligence agency would decide to do a Snowden and release details of the backdoors that have been built into our electronic devices - Gen Y's Revenge - Opening The Back Door ?.
After thinking about this for a while I eventually concluded that the next big scandal could be one that could have far more real world impact than the current round of revelations (which are going to have a lasting effect on American technology providers over the next decade as foreign and multinational entities start trying to attain some level of information privacy that they don't enjoy today).
My thinking goes like this - if all our technology platforms now have backdoors built into them, what happens if some whistleblower decides to make public the mechanisms for accessing these backdoors ? Is there some procedure on the shelf that will allow a (relatively) rapid rollout of fixes to close the backdoors (and the cynic in me assumes, install new ones) ? Or is this just a hacker's wet dream waiting to come true...
So I wasn't all that surprised by Wikileaks' latest release, the much hyped "Vault 7" - Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed.
Like the Podesta emails, the timing for this one was dodgy at best, with Trump doing some paranoid tweeting about his phones being tapped by Obama a couple of days before the document dump. By and large I still like Assange, but the entire neocon and Democratic establishment seem to determined to paint him as yet another tool of Vladimir Putin - and some of Wikileaks' tweets and the way they seem to be co-ordinating with the Trumpists don't do much to contradict this.
Fingers crossed they start releasing some dirt on the Trump administration before too long to restore some balance to the force.
There are a few other conspiracy theories about this latest release floating around that don't come from the Washington establishment. One of these is that this is part of a turf war between the NSA and CIA, with the NSA perhaps deciding that the CIA are encroaching too much on their area of expertise (mirroring some theories around the time of the Snowden revelations that the CIA wanted to discredit the NSA).
Bruce Schneier has a good roundup of articles on the topic - WikiLeaks Releases CIA Hacking Tools.
Somewhat weirdly, while browsing Facebook outside yesterday (off my home network) I emailed the link to this Intercept story to myself with the subject line "Vault 7" yesterday. A minute or so later I had an aborted call from a number in The Seychelles then my phone popped up a dialog box asking me what wifi network I wanted to connect to (something I can't recall it ever spontaneously asking me to do before). It did make me wonder just how active / automated the surveillance systems are these days when it comes to grabbing all the information off your phone...
FORMER CIA DIRECTOR Michael Hayden told the BBC this week that he blames millennials for the government’s secrets being leaked to the public.
“In order to do this kind of stuff, we have to recruit from a certain demographic,” he said, referring to government surveillance. “And I don’t mean to judge them at all, but this group of millennials and related groups simply have different understandings of the words loyalty, secrecy, and transparency than certainly my generation did.”