In addition to its headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the US' CIA also uses the US consulate in Frankfurt, Germany as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa, WikiLeaks has claimed in its latest leaks on the CIA.
"CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ('Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe' or CCIE) are given diplomatic ('black') passports and State Department cover. The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany's counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential," said WikiLeaks which began its new series of leaks on the Central Intelligence Agency on Tuesday.
Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the US spy 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.
Two earlier WikiLeaks publications give further detail on CIA approaches to customs and secondary screening procedures. Once in Frankfurt, CIA hackers can travel without further border checks to the 25 European countries that are part of the Schengen open border area, including France, Italy and Switzerland. A number of the CIA's electronic attack methods are designed for physical proximity, the anti-secrecy organisation said.
These attack methods are able to penetrate high-security networks that are disconnected from the internet, such as police record database, WikiLeaks said explaining the method of the US intelligence agency's operations. "In these cases, a CIA officer, agent or allied intelligence officer acting under instructions, physically infiltrates the targeted workplace.
The attacker is provided with a USB containing malware developed for the CIA for this purpose, which is inserted into the targeted computer. The attacker then infects and exfiltrates data to removable media," WikiLeaks said. In the latest release of documents, CIA was also accused of turning Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs into covert microphones.