You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
hacked wireless routers

The CIA Has Hacked Wireless Routers by the Dozens; Is Yours One?

Post-PC Era
June 16, 2017

If you think you’re safe from spying by the CIA, you might want to think about your Wi-Fi router. ZDNet has uncovered in the latest documents released by WikiLeaks that the Central Intelligence Agency has hacked wireless routers for years. If you use an Airport or Time Capsule for your internet, though, you might be safe from their prying eyes.

CIA’s Efforts to Keep America Under Surveillance

CIA’s Efforts to Keep America Under Surveillance

It’s no longer any secret that the CIA and National Security Agency have been working hard to undermine the privacy of millions of Americans. The latest release from WikiLeaks only underscores that knowledge. For years, the CIA has been targeting and compromising wireless routers in homes, offices, and public spaces in its effort to spy on us all.

The latest documents reveal the work of the CIA’s elite hacking division, the Engineering Development Group. One of the tools included in the CIA’s arsenal, according to WikiLeaks, is something called CherryBLossom. This is a utility that allows the agency to snoop on internet activity of a target, redirect its browser, scan for email addresses and phone numbers, and several other spying activities.

Which Wireless Routers are Vulnerable?

Which Wireless Routers are Vulnerable?

In general, once a make, model, and hardware version of a device is supported, it is straightforward to implant any later firmware versions, or international firmware versions, so long as the device has not changed its underlying hardware or operating system.

- WikiLeaks document obtained by ZDNet

By mid-2012, according to one of the documents, there were roughly 25 different hacked wireless routers from 10 manufacturers. The manufacturers include Asus, Belkin, Buffalo, Dell, D-Link, Linksys, Motorola, Netgear, Senao and US Robotics. Future implants for revisions of those identified devices could also be possible, according to the document obtained by ZDNet.

Apple, notably, was not on the list. That means Airport and Time Capsule products might not be involved in the hack. However, it’s also possible that those devices were cracked at a later date.

In early March 2017, WikiLeaks released documents showing that the CIA had developed and obtained exploits for iOS devices. Apple rapidly divulged that many of those exploits had already been corrected. It will be interesting to see what the fallout is from the latest release. The fact that so many Wi-Fi routers are vulnerable to spying is fairly troubling, but not terribly surprising.