In last 20 years, we have seen hundreds of caper/heist movies where spies or bank robbers hijack surveillance cameras of secure premises to either stop recording or set up an endless loop for covert operations without leaving any evidence.
Whenever I see such scenes in a movie, I wonder and ask myself: Does this happen in real-life?
Yes, it does, trust me—at least CIA agents are doing this.
WikiLeaks has just unveiled another classified CIA project, dubbed ‘Dumbo,’ which details how CIA agents hijack and manipulate webcams and microphones in Hollywood style “to gain and exploit physical access to target computers in CIA field operations.”
The Dumbo CIA project involves a USB thumb drive equipped with a Windows hacking tool that can identify installed webcams and microphones, either connected locally, wired or wirelessly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Once identified, the Dumbo program allows the CIA agents to:
- Mute all microphones
- Disables all network adapters
- Suspends any processes using a camera recording device
- Selectively corrupted or delete recordings
However, there are two dependencies for a successful operation:
- Dumbo program requires SYSTEM level privilege to run.
- The USB drive must remain plugged into the system throughout the operation to maintain control over connected surveillance devices.
This project is being used by the CIA’s Physical Access Group (PAG)—a special branch within the Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI) which is tasked to gain and exploit physical access to target computers in CIA field operations.
Previous Vault 7 CIA Leaks
Last week, WikiLeaks published another CIA project, dubbed ‘Imperial,’ which revealed details of at least 3 CIA-developed hacking tools and implants designed to target computers running Apple Mac OS X and different flavours of Linux operating systems.
Since March, WikiLeaks has published 19 batches of “Vault 7” series, which includes the latest and last week leaks, along with the following batches:
- UCL/Raytheon — An alleged CIA contractor, which analysed in-the-wild advanced malware and hacking tools and submitted at least 5 reports to the agency for help it develop its own malware.