The Relevance and Irrelevance of CIA's Vault 7 Cyber Weapons Arsenal - An In-depth OSINT Analysis

In a World dominated by buzz words such as military defense contractors entering the World of cyber warfare through the supposedly proposed cyber weapons inventory that they could supply to their clients and a multi-tude of third-party cyber weapon and legal surveillance type of solution providers it shouldn't be surprising that the CIA's most recently launched Center for Cyber Intelligence including the actual existence of the CIA's Information Operations Center which is responsible for producing and actually working on the production and release of nation-grade cyber weapons are already making a decent portion of contribution to the U.S Intelligence Community of terms of building and actually working on high-profile and nation-grade cyber weapons thanks to a recently released and leaked by Wikileaks archive of CIA cyber weapon documents.

In this post I'll offer an in-depth discussion and analysis on the relevance and irrelevance of CIA's cyber weapons program in the global context of the U.S Intelligence Community including the actual applicability of such type of weapons in today's modern security researchers and anti-virus vendors dominated world including to actually discuss in-depth the technical specifications behind the CIA's Vault 7 cyber weapons program including to actually make a vast and sound recommendation in terms of improving them including the associated risks involved in the program and the actual execution of such type of cyber weapons.
















































In today's modern cyber warfare age multiple international bodies both commercial government-sponsored and non-profit organizations strive to provide both legal and tactical advice and practical recommendations including "best practices" on the legal and operational applicability of today's modern cyber warfare arms race that often thankfully goes beyond the usual in-depth and throughout analysis of yet another currently circulating malicious and fraudulent spam and phishing including malware campaigns.

What was once a very specific skillful set of both technical and operational "know-how" courtesy of the NSA in terms of launching both offensive and defensive cyber warfare operations is today's modern alternative in the face of CIA's recently launched offensive cyber warfare weapons program which based on the publicly accessibly leaked material appears to go beyond the usual lawful surveillance type of  tools including today's modern DIY (do-it-yourself) malware-releases and basically signals a trend and possibly an international including within the U.S Intelligence Community standard in terms of working on high-grade nation-empowered offensive cyber warfare weapons.

With the CIA slowly entering the cyber warfare arms race it should be considered as a privilege to actually having a working or in-the-works cyber weapon type of arsenal that could possibly motivate other U.S Intelligence Community agencies and actually raise the eye-brows of certain members of the U.S Intelligence Community in particular the NSA in the context of having another agency actively develop and work on cyber warfare weapons. What is the CIA up to in terms of offensive cyber warfare weapons and actual production of high-grade and nation-state sponsored malicious software?

Thanks to a publicly accessible leaked archive of classified and potentially Top Secret information on CIA's offensive cyber warfare weapons program we can clearly distinguish approximately 24 Top Secret offensive cyber warfare weapon programs and actual tools which I'll extensively profile in this post and offer practical and relevant advice on how organization's and companies can protect themselves from these type of threats.
  • "Dark Matter" - iPhone and MAC hacking
  • "Marble" - CIA's Marble Framework for malicious code obfuscation
  • "Grasshopper" - CIA's Grasshopper framework for producing Windows-based malware
  • "HIVE" - publicly accessible C&C (Command and Control) infrastructure development
  • "Weeping Angel" - SmartTV hacking and eavesdropping project
  • "Scribbles" - Web-beacons based leaked documents tracking tool project
  • "Archimedes" - local area network (LAN) hacking tool project that would eventually phone back to the CIA's C&C infrastructure
  • "AfterMidnight" - Windows-based malware
  • "Assassin" - Yet another Windows-based malware
  • "Athena" - Yet another Windows-based malware
  • "Pandemic" - Yet another Windows-based malware
  • "Cherry Blossom" - Compromised and backdoored Wireless device and router firmware
  • "Brutal Kangaroo" - Covert communication channel using custom-embedded and shipped USB drives
  • "Elsa" - Geo-location aware Wireless device and router exploitation project
  • "OutlawCountry" - Linux based malware
  • "BothanSpy" - Windows-based malware
  • "Highrise" - Android-based mobile malware
  • "Imperial" - Mac OS X trojan horse project
  • "Dumbo" - Web cam hacking and compromise project
  • "CouchPotato" - Video and Web cam hacking and compromise project
  • "ExpressLane" - biometrics database compromise hacking project
  • "Angelfire" - Windows-based malware
  • "Protego" - Missile-control-based malicious software
Today's monocultural insecurities-based inter-connected World in combination with good old-fashioned OSINT methodologies could easily prove handy to nation-state cyber weapons building groups and teams in the context of actually doing their home work and basically adapting to good-old fashioned standardized communication approaches and technologies for the purpose of exploiting and building offensive cyber weapons on the top of it.

Case in point is the majority of market-leading open-source firmware releases including the actual proprietary and off-the-shelf internal U.S Intelligence Community based and driven including possibly sponsored bug bounty programs including the actual outsourcing of the actual vulnerability discovery and exploit development to a third-party including the use of proprietary and publicly accessible off-the-counter exploit and vulnerability development services courtesy of malicious parties or legitimate public services and projects.

The very notion that the CIA is developing cyber warfare weapons should be considered a privilege in case they're actually used against an online adversary or a foreign nation. In terms of attribution it should be clearly noted that the active outsourcing and utilization of purely malicious online infrastructure including the use of legitimate online infrastructure acting as a C&C infrastructure should be clearly considered an option in case the CIA doesn't want to end up having its inventory of hijacked PCs and hosts actually compromised or actually having its C&C infrastructure taken offline courtesy of security researchers or the Security Community.

I've also managed to find two currently active C&C servers courtesy of CIA's currently active and ongoing Vault 7 cyber weapons program including an actual MD5 for a CIA-produced and sponsored mobile malware:


hxxp://70.237.151.14
hxxp://24.176.227.182

Sample visual traceroute for the first C&C server:


Sample visual traceroute for the second C&C server:


Sample mobile malware MD5 sample:
MD5: 05ed39b0f1e578986b1169537f0a66fe

Related CIA-themed MD5s involved in various CIA-themed malicious and fraudulent online campaigns:

MD5: f2fc11f71c3008cd2e4594437d156f4e
MD5: 13af7fb4534750fc3d672fd359fdf20c
MD5: a5b17f9ffc06d2acbb331df24ad0fb54
MD5: d198f1a9cdf76ed5bc0e33a817bd2ae5
MD5: b489e6956a2a865788546c0fb6c9163c
MD5: 2be39ec8320637f3f60d4c040a0d315d
MD5: 11eddcd70f71defe214ae8912c63e5f4
MD5: 3afe914cd4c039a6f44c34741af0182b
MD5: 9d2932b52a824bce66a5587c3afeedaa
MD5: 279730a8e7b23a8bf2c06aea0c32b1b0
MD5: 4eaf2b3244cbf3b467cf4db79a955275
MD5: d91a46d0b29f34bdd3277fe53dc1c031
MD5: c7a35d78dc3f47c880eb7c4ee20d73d5
MD5: 44cb9b2a174720e2dd11abb6b7897926
MD5: 112fd3445f9fb60abd4288002fe9cfcc
MD5: 0c4dff8114b1830c985cf5adf14b415c
MD5: 98f676004fc4f3330d055d65d61f99c8
MD5: 6c4158461dd177fd114c27d9ad5ee809
MD5: 01d9544d0a151caa67cfd8eb0f17640d
MD5: f6f27ec79cb71cdd31c679b636002c49
MD5: 90a277ffbedc227fe236fbc6af3c5dc6
MD5: ea965f46a287e03a7ab808a05ad2128f
MD5: f11aa2a0674c49f17a9360505626716d
MD5: ceb40a12129334ece4c3953fee950aa7
MD5: ee28dc8e6abd77d33ef7be02a583760a
MD5: f03b81e85706d3b4f8df2d8475dc36aa
MD5: 4f5f7297107a2b03c4f62e0c4b7f9871
MD5: 01d9544d0a151caa67cfd8eb0f17640d
MD5: f6f27ec79cb71cdd31c679b636002c49
MD5: 90a277ffbedc227fe236fbc6af3c5dc6
MD5: ea965f46a287e03a7ab808a05ad2128f
MD5: f11aa2a0674c49f17a9360505626716d
MD5: ceb40a12129334ece4c3953fee950aa7
MD5: ee28dc8e6abd77d33ef7be02a583760a
MD5: f03b81e85706d3b4f8df2d8475dc36aa
MD5: 4f5f7297107a2b03c4f62e0c4b7f9871

Stay tuned!