Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows have “gaping holes” that were exploited by the CIA to install spyware on anyone’s computer, anywhere in the world

Thousands of documents taken from the CIA and leaked to Wikileaks this week reveal that the nation’s top spy agency has a plethora of electronic capabilities that allow it hack into and monitor virtually every device and operating system in use today.

As revealed in a statement to the public and the press on Wednesday, Wikileaks noted that the CIA’s capabilities include penetrating Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows, both of which come with “gaping holes” that the agency managed to exploit to install spyware on any computer anywhere in the world.

“A series of standards lay out CIA malware infestation patterns which are likely to assist forensic crime scene investigators as well as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia, Blackberry, Siemens and anti-virus companies attribute and defend against attacks,” Wikileaks said in its release.

The trove of data is code-named “Vault 7.” The first 8,700-plus documents being released are part of a planned series called “Year Zero,” the whistleblower organization said.

In its “Tradecraft DO’s and DON’Ts” manual, the CIA lists rules about how its malware ought to be written so as to hide any activity conducted by the agency itself or any other element of the U.S. government “or its witting partner companies” during “forensic review.” (RELATED: Yes, your smart TV really is spying on you: Leaked docs reveal CIA secretly turned Samsung TVs into microphones that spy on your conversations.)

In addition, similar secretive methods incorporate the use of encryption to prevent the agency’s hackers from being detected as well as describing target selection and stolen data, all in an effort to hide the fact that computers are infected with CIA malware that is capable of tracking all computer-related activities in real time.

The release noted further that the CIA has developed very successful methods of attack against the most well-known anti-virus programs, which means the agency has found a way to get around them so it can install its own malware.

All in all, it doesn’t really matter what companies have developed in order to protect their operating systems and their customers, the CIA has basically developed technologies that allow it to bypass those protections with impunity. That is an incredible power to possess – the ability to stealthily break into a computer system, steal any data the agency wants, and get out without being detected.

What’s more, the agency also has developed the ability to continually monitor any computer it wants as well, even those that are not connected to the Internet.

Also noted within the Wikileaks statement was this nugget: The CIA has also managed to steal hacking programs and malware from other governments, which it then uses to disguise its own activities. Translated, that means the agency’s hackers pose as hackers from another country by using malware developed by a foreign state, like Russia.

This method could be useful in hiding the agency’s hacking activities by creating the impression the hack was actually carried about by someone else – as in the case of the hacks involving emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Americans have been told that forensic analyses of those hacks indicate that they were done by Russia, though U.S. intelligence agencies cannot find a single shred of evidence that any Russian “hacking” effected the outcome of the election.

While at this point it’s not known if that’s what happened to Clinton and the DNC, but just knowing that the CIA possesses this capability is intriguing and adds another dimension to the intrigue surrounding those hacks. We have to remember that Wikileaks editor Julian Assange has said repeatedly that the emails his organization leaked throughout the recent presidential campaign did not come from Russia.

As to the CIA’s overall capabilities to break into any operating system in use, that’s troubling in and of itself, and likely one of the reasons that led someone within the intelligence community to leak this information to Wikileaks in what officials are now referring to as “Snowden 2.0,” in reference to former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden. He previously revealed much about how the NSA conducts continual surveillance on all electronic communications’ of Americans.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for and, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.



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