What is Vault7? WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange releases 'Year Zero' leaked documents
In the build-up to the start of the new series today, WikiLeaks’ Twitter account posted a cryptic question: “What is Vault 7?"
A statement from WikiLeaks announced: “Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
“Code-named ‘Vault 7’ by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.
“The first full part of the series, ‘Year Zero’, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina.”
WikiLeaks said: “‘Year Zero’ introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of ‘zero day’ weaponized exploits against a wide range of US and European company products."
It added that the products included Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, "which are turned into covert microphones”.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 7, 2017
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 7, 2017
In a statement, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: "There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'.
“Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade.
“But the significance of ‘Year Zero’ goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."
Internet users around the world are able to download the Year Zero documents after the passphrase was made public earlier today.
Mr Assange was not able reveal the contents of Vault 7 during a online press conference because the live stream fell victim to a cyber attack.
WikiLeaks tweeted: "As Mr Assange's Perscipe+Facebook video stream links are under attack, his video press conference will be rescheduled."
Ahead of the pubilcation, WikiLeaks said: "Today's pending publication contains elements that will be of interest to all tech journalists."
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Here are a series of questions and answers given by the WikiLeaks statement today.
What time period is covered?
“The years 2013 to 2016. The sort order of the pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first).”
What is Vault 7?
"Vault 7 is a substantial collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.”
When was each part of Vault 7 obtained?
“Part one was obtained recently and covers through 2016. Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.”
What is the total size of Vault 7?
“The series is the largest intelligence publication in history.”
WikiLeaks said: “The quantity of published pages in Vault 7 part one (Year Zero) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.”
How did WikiLeaks obtain each part of Vault 7?
“Sources trust WikiLeaks to not reveal information that might help identify them.”
Isn't WikiLeaks worried that the CIA will act against its staff to stop the series?
“No. That would be certainly counter-productive.”
What has WikiLeaks released before?
WikiLeak has recently posted set of US Government 'wanted' posters for Assange, WikiLeaks' source Chelsea Manning and National Security Agency (NSA) mole Edward Snowden.
At the start of the year, WikiLeaks vowed to drop a huge bombshell that would blow the world away in 2017.
“If you thought 2016 was a big WikiLeaks year, 2017 will blow you away,” WikiLeaks tweeted in January, adding that a "showdown" is coming.
WikiLeaks' last significant release was the publication of thousands of emails from the gmail account of Hillary Clinton's account manager John Podesta in the run up to the US election.
The constant stream of WikiLeaks emails hit Mrs Clinton’s campaign and helped turn public opinion against her, paving the way for Donald Trump's victory.
Mr Assange has repeatedly said that the Russian Government was not its source for leaks during the US election campaign.
He remains under political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
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