WikiLeaks Vault 7 News: CIA ‘Sonic Screwdriver’ Program Infects iMac, MacBook Devices

Mar 24, 2017 10:50 AM EDT | Yen Palec


WikiLeaks, the notable website famous for leaking sensitive news and government data, continues its "Vault 7" leak. This new series of leaks revealed that the United States Central Intelligence Agency have created malicious programs with the intent to infect Apple devices like the MacBook and iMac.

The most recent addition to the "Vault 7" leak is called "Dark Matter." It was released a couple of weeks after the "Year Zero" leak which detailed software exploits that were used by the CIA in order to infect devices running on the iOS platform.

Unlike the "Year Zero" leak which revealed a program that infects iOS devices, the "Dark Matter" leak detailed the program that has the capability of snooping into iMac and MacBook devices. The leakers claim that the vulnerabilities and exploits were designed in such a way that they "persists even if the operating system is re-installed."

WikiLeaks also revealed that the program was headed by CIA's Embedded Development Branch under the project name "Sonic Screwdriver," according to Mac Rumors. The point of attack is to use a peripheral device, like a USB stick which is referred to as a screwdriver, when a Mac is on the process of booting up. Launching the attack in this specific scenario allows the attacker to initiate the hack even if the Mac is password protected.

Based on the information provided by WikiLeaks, that the CIA embedded this Sonic Screwdriver program into a modified firmware version of the Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter. The project name, "Sonic Screwdriver," is an allusion to the iconic weapon used by the main character in the popular TV series "Doctor Who." Much like its TV counterpart, the Dark Matter leak detailed that the CIA's Sonic Screwdriver can infect, gather information, or completely cripple a Mac device.

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