Tech Transformers

Edward Snowden: US government ‘reckless beyond words’ after WikiLeaks docs show CIA hacking tools

Edward Snowden speaks remotely at SXSW.
Source: Google+

Documents published by WikiLeaks purporting that the CIA hacked devices made by the likes of Apple and Samsung look legitimate but are "reckless beyond words," whistleblower Edward Snowden said.

"Any hacker can use the security hole the CIA left open to break into any iPhone in the world," Snowden said on Twitter.

WikiLeaks released 8,761 documents on Tuesday allegedly detailing the CIA's hacking methods. NBC has been unable to independently verify the documents.

Apple, Samsung and Microsoft reacted to the revelations on Wednesday, while Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor known for leaking a massive trove of classified documents in 2013, said that the dump looks authentic.

The documents appear to detail how the CIA used "zero-day exploits" — vulnerabilities in software — to hack Apple's iOS operating system and Google's Android. The vulnerabilities were not passed on to the technology firms so they could patch them up, a move that Snowden said was dangerous.

Technology firms reacted to the revelations. Read their comments here.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Signal, two encrypted messaging apps, were also named in the documents. But the two were not hacked. Instead, according to the WikiLeaks documents, because the CIA was able to exploit Android and iOS, they were able to collect audio and message traffic from these apps before they became encrypted. Snowden said that the fact iOS and Android got hacked is a "much bigger problem".