Julian Assange, founder of the online leaking platform WikiLeaks, is seen through the eyepeace of a camera as he is displayed on a screen via a live video connection during a press conference on the platform’s 10th anniversary on October 4, 2016 in Berlin
WikiLeaks is to publish all of the CIA’s cyber weapons online, Julian Assange had suggested.
The organisation has posted what appears to be the biggest ever leak of CIA spying secrets ever, but had previously refrained from publishing the details of the US spying agency’s weapons. Mr Assange had argued that it would be dangerous to do so, since anyone could use them once they are made public.
But he has now announced that it will put those previously redacted weapons online.
First, Mr Assange will give technology companies exclusive access to those weapons, so that they can be defended against. While companies like Apple and Google have claimed to have defended against the weapons revealed in the ‘Vault 7’ files, others have said that they would not be able to do so fully until the details of the weapons are revealed to them.
Once those companies have had some time to look at the details, they will be made public, Mr Assange said on a live stream that he posted online and appeared to be hosting from his room in the Ecuadorian embassy.
That will presumably mean that all of the CIA’s weapons held onto by WikiLeaks will either be made useless or – if they are not properly neutralised by technology companies – will be available for anyone to use.
When the Vault 7 files were published online, WikiLeaks said that it would wait until people had decided whether those weapons were made available. He said he initially refrained from doing so for fear they would find their way into the wrong hands.
"Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of ‘armed’ cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should analyzed, disarmed and published," WikiLeaks wrote in its original post about the disclosures.
Instead, the Vault 7 files only made reference to the names, purposes and targets of the files. That was enough to make clear that all of the popular manufacturers of phones and computers may be liable to attack, and that those attacks could be used in a wide variety of different ways.
Mr Assange has repeatedly said that more Vault 7 files will be released, and suggested that the initial ‘Year Zero’ batch was just 1 per cent of all the documents that it has.