WikiLeaks has published what it says is another batch of secret hacking manuals belonging to the US Central Intelligence Agency as part of its Vault7 series of leaks. The site is billing Vault7 as the largest publication of intelligence documents ever.
Friday's installment includes 27 documents related to "Grasshopper," the codename for a set of software tools used to build customized malware for Windows-based computers. The Grasshopper framework provides building blocks that can be combined in unique ways to suit the requirements of a given surveillance or intelligence operation. The documents are likely to be of interest to potential CIA targets looking for signatures and other signs indicating their Windows systems were hacked. The leak will also prove useful to competing malware developers who want to learn new techniques and best practices.
"Grasshopper is a software tool used to build custom installers for target computers running Microsoft Windows operating system," one user guide explained. "An operator uses the Grasshopper builder to construct a custom installation executable."
Internet and computer security company Symantec has issued a statement today related to the Vault 7 WikiLeaks documents leaked from the CIA, saying that the methods and protocols described in the documents are consistent with cyberattacks they’d been tracking for years.
Symantec says they now believe that the CIA hacking tool Fluxwire is a malware that had been known as Corentry, which Symantec had previously attributed to an unknown cyberespionage group called Longhorn, which apparently was the CIA.
They described Longhorn as having been active since at least 2011, and responsible for attacks in at least 16 countries across the world, targeting governments and NGOs, as well as financial, energy, and natural resource companies, things that would generally be of interest to a nation-state.