A recent Wikileaks release revealed extensive information on the tactics the CIA uses for surveillance. The documents, named “Vault 7” that the CIA was using “[contained] several hundred million lines of code, many of which are designed to exploit vulnerabilities in everyday consumer devices” (Miller & Nakashima, 2017). The documents have caused “damage to the CIA’s efforts to gather intelligence overseas” and have added to the “strain on the U.S. government’s relationship with Silicon Valley giants including Apple and Google” (Miller & Nakashima, 2017).
Google released a security update to patch the “Android smartphone software…vulnerabilities highlighted in the WikiLeaks documents” (Nicas, 2017). But the issue now is that “only 2.8% of Android devices run the latest software, released in August” last year (Nicas, 2017). The technology the CIA crafted for surveillance efforts raises important questions about how much trust we can place in our everyday technology’s ability to protect our privacy, but what can be done when users do not take minimal responsibility in updating their devices with security patches? While the phone makers should be held accountable for creating a safer software, more emphasis needs to placed on the users to accept and download these cyber security measures.
Miller, G., & Nakashima, E. (2017, March 07). WikiLeaks says it has obtained trove of CIA hacking tools. Retrieved March 12, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/wikileaks-says-it-has-obtained-trove-of-cia-hacking-tools/2017/03/07
Nicas, J. (2017, March 12). Google Mends Gaps in Android Security. Wall Street Journal, p. B4.