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Edward Snowden: WikiLeaks document dump on CIA hacking capability ‘looks authentic’

Snowden explained that program and office names in the WikiLeaks document dump "are real," and could only be known by a "cleared insider." (AP Photo/Juliet Linderman)

Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7)

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden said on Tuesday that the WikiLeaks dump of what it claims to be more than 8,700 documents from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence “looks authentic” and “is genuinely a big deal.”

WikiLeaks announced that its “Vault7” publication shines a light on the CIA’s secret hacking program with targets around the world, using malware that can bypass encryption protection in a wide range of devices, including Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Since the document dump, WikiLeaks account has shared several pieces of information via its official Twitter account, including this one: “WikiLeaks #Vault7 confirms CIA can effectively bypass Signal + Telegram + WhatsApp + Confide encryption.”

Snowden replied to this tweet with a “PSA,” saying that it “incorrectly implies CIA hacked these apps / encryption.”

Instead, Snowden says the Vault7 documents show that iOS and Android smartphones got hacked, which he said is a “much bigger problem.”

In a separate tweet, Snowden said he is still parsing through the documents, many of which include long strings of code. But from what he’s seen so far, Snowden said that what WikiLeaks “has here is genuinely a big deal. Looks authentic.”

Snowden explained that program and office names in the documents “are real,” and could only be known by a “cleared insider.”

Snowden has been granted asylum in Russia since 2013 after he leaked secret information from the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. As recently as January, Russia said it would extend Snowden’s asylum to 2020.

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