Thursday, 19 July, 2018

USA identifies suspect in major leak of Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools

US names suspect in Vault 7 leaks but unable to file charges Featured
Leonard Rios | 16 May, 2018, 16:16

First, the federal government suspects he gave a massive trove of agency documents to WikiLeaks about the CIA's hacking operations, though he has yet to be charged with that, reports Huffington Post.

WikiLeaks began releasing some of the CIA's hacking tools in March 2017.

The 2017 breach, codenamed Vault 7, details how the CIA can take over iPhones through malware and turn smart TVs into surveillance devices and is believed to be the agency's largest leak of classified documents.

A U.S. prosecutor said in January the investigation was still continuing and that Mr Schulte remained "a target of that investigation", the Washington Post reports, quoting court documents. The server was set up by Schulte in 2009 with an encrypted VeraCrypt volume, allegedly to host gaming and other applications.

In September, a month after his arrest, Schulte was released on the condition he not leave New York City, where he had been living with a relative.

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At a January 8 hearing, Schulte's attorneys argued that they did not contest his detention, based on their understanding that Schulte would be sent to Virginia, pursuant to a warrant. Schulte's attorneys have said that Tor is used for all kinds of communications and have maintained that he played no role in the Vault 7 leaks. It is not clear whether the government is pursuing contractors as part of the leak investigation, but prosecutors have not mentioned anyone other than Schulte in court proceedings. Prosecutors said in court last week they plan to file a new indictment in the next 45 days, according to the Times. Early court documents filed in Schulte's case referred to documents found on his computer that may have included classified information. "The government immediately had enough evidence to establish that he was a target of that investigation", Laroche said.

At the same hearing, prosecutors argued that Schulte should be returned to custody because federal monitoring showed his Gmail account had been accessed. Kaplan had been living with his cousin in NY.

That cache would eventually be disclosed as the "Vault 7" data dump. Laroche was actually describing a "characterization" by Schulte's attorneys and expressing disagreement.

Tor, which is short for The Onion Router, routes data through a network of random proxies around the world, making the origin of data traffic hard to trace. Hopefully more information will come out. "In fact, our investigation is ongoing", Laroche said.

The full scope of the case against Schulte is unclear.

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