Ex-Employee Suspected Of Leaking CIA Hacking Tools

The US government has identified a suspect in the leak last year of a large portion of the CIA's computer hacking arsenal, the cyber-tools the agency had used to conduct espionage operations overseas, according to interviews and public documents.

But despite months of investigation, prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against the man, who is a former CIA employee being held in a Manhattan jail on unrelated charges.

Joshua Adam Schulte, who worked for a CIA group that designs computer code to spy on foreign adversaries, is believed to have provided the agency's top-secret information to WikiLeaks, federal prosecutors acknowledged in a hearing in January. The anti-secrecy group published the code under the label "Vault 7" in March 2017.

It was one of the most significant leaks in the CIA's history, exposing secret cyber-weapons and spying techniques that might be used against the United States, according to current and former intelligence officials.

Some argued that the Vault 7 disclosures could cause more damage to American intelligence efforts than those by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. 

He revealed extraordinary details about the capabilities of the United States to spy on computers and phones around the world, but the Vault 7 leaks showed how such spying is actually done, the current and former officials argued.

Schulte, 29, already held without bail in Manhattan on child pornography charges, learned last Friday during a New York court appearance that additional charges were likely to be filed against him in about 45 days from what Assistant US Attorney Matthew Laroche said was a "broader investigation" unrelated to the pornography case.

"Mr Schulte has spent years working to ensure the safety of his country and is deeply saddened to hear that he could face charges of espionage," assistant federal defender Sabrina Shroff said on Tuesday.

At a January hearing, Laroche said Schulte was a target of an ongoing investigation into the theft of tools that were used by the CIA to spy overseas. His defence lawyers have insisted he was not involved.

The US government has all but publicly acknowledged the embarrassing leak from the CIA's Centre for Cyber Intelligence. President Donald Trump told a television host then, "I just want people to know the CIA was hacked, and a lot of things taken".
At January's hearing, Laroche said the material was taken from the CIA during the more than six years that Schulte worked for the agency in various positions, including technical development officer.

"The government immediately had enough evidence to establish that he was a target of that investigation," Laroche said.

"They conducted a number of search warrants on the defendant's residence."

Laroche said he disagreed with Schulte's lawyer at the time, who claimed the search warrants had not yielded anything consistent with the material released by WikiLeaks. "In fact, our investigation is ongoing," Laroche said. "He remains a target of that investigation."

Laroche told US District Judge Paul A. Crotty that the new charges were unlikely for several weeks.

"We're consulting with a lot of folks that are not within our office, so we're moving as quickly as we can on that front," he said.
The cryptic description at Friday's hearing led Shroff, who entered the case in March, to demand more.

"Are they secret charges that I'm not allowed to know about? What are these charges?" Shroff asked, saying she wanted to know of possible charges, whether they be sedition or something else. "Are they charging him with espionage?"

Laroche said it involved an ongoing grand jury investigation and added, "I don't think we have an obligation to disclose it at this time, but we certainly have had discussions with Ms. Shroff about the nature of the underlying investigation". Schulte, of New York, is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan.

Jacob Kaplan, Schulte's attorney at the January hearing, told the court that "the government had full access to his computers and his phone, and they found the child pornography in this case, but what they didn't find was any connection to the WikiLeaks investigation".

Sydney Morning Herald:    Image: Nick Youngson

You Might Also Read:

CIA Malware Unveiled:

CIA Silent About Wikileaks Agency Files:
 

 

« NSA Spies Triple Text and Phone Collection
Secure Encrypted Email Platform PGP Is Not Secure »

Directory of Suppliers

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO Technology

XYPRO is the market leader in HPE Non-Stop Security, Risk Management and Compliance.

Jooble

Jooble

Jooble is a job search aggregator operating in 71 countries worldwide. We simplify the job search process by displaying active job ads from major job boards and career sites across the internet.

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Free Access: Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory listing 5,000+ specialist service providers.

Practice Labs

Practice Labs

Practice Labs is an IT competency hub, where live-lab environments give access to real equipment for hands-on practice of essential cybersecurity skills.

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of completely automatic, fully encrypted online, cloud backup.

MIRACL

MIRACL

MIRACL provides the world’s only single step Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which can replace passwords on 100% of mobiles, desktops or even Smart TVs.

ZenGRC

ZenGRC

ZenGRC - the first, easy-to-use, enterprise-grade information security solution for compliance and risk management - offers businesses efficient control tracking, testing, and enforcement.

CSI Consulting Services

CSI Consulting Services

Get Advice From The Experts: * Training * Penetration Testing * Data Governance * GDPR Compliance. Connecting you to the best in the business.

The Networking People (TNP)

The Networking People (TNP)

TNP specialises in network consultancy and engineering services including information security.

Social-Engineer Inc

Social-Engineer Inc

Social-Engineer is a consulting and training company specializing in the science of social engineering in the context of digital security.

SWAMP

SWAMP

SWAMP offers a suite of secure and dependable analysis services, to help reduce the number of security vulnerabilities deployed in software.

IntSights

IntSights

IntSights is an intelligence driven security provider offering rapid, accurate cyberthreat intelligence and incident mitigation in real time

Ridge Insurance Solutions

Ridge Insurance Solutions

Ridge Insurance Solutions has partnered with five leading Lloyd's syndicates to provide a new and innovative cyber insurance solution.

NITA Uganda (NITA-U)

NITA Uganda (NITA-U)

NITA-U has put in place the Information security framework to provide Uganda with the necessary process, policies, standards and guideline to help in Information Assurance.

Center for Cyber & Homeland Security (CCHS

Center for Cyber & Homeland Security (CCHS

The Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at Auburn University is a nonpartisan think tank that works to develop innovative strategies to address current and future threats to the United States.

Operational Technology Cyber Security Alliance (OTCSA)

Operational Technology Cyber Security Alliance (OTCSA)

The Operational Technology Cyber Security Alliance was founded to provide OT operators and suppliers with resources and guidance to mitigate their cyber risk in a fast-evolving world.

Peraton

Peraton

Peraton provides innovative solutions for the most sensitive and critical programs in government today, developed and executed by scientists, engineers, and other experts.