Based on new leaks you’d think we live in truly Orwellian times, but the authorities building the surveillance state still can’t do anything to stop actual crimes.
WikiLeaks is rolling out Vault 7, a cache of documents that outline CIA hacking operations. Oddly, people are shocked. Why? We’ve been told for years that phone microphones and webcams can be turned on and off at will or that you can be tracked by your phone. Why is this a major revelation in 2017?
Here is what I am surprised about. The CIA, FBI, NSA, and a host of intelligence agencies receive untold billions of dollars, so they should be at the top of the hacking foodchain. But they can’t seem to do anything about ransomware scammers. It’s time to put some of the resources spent hacking enemy nations into finding those behind botnets, spambots, and especially ransomware.
The idea behind ransomware is simple. Some sort of malware infects your machine, encrypting all or part of your files and disks, rendering them useless—unless you pay a ransom to get a key to unlock your own system. The “fee” hovers around $500, typically paid in bitcoin. Recent targets include hospitals, municipalities, and the entire Senate Democratic Caucus of Pennsylvania, all of which were hit with exorbitant fees for the unlock code.
Sure, law enforcement has caught a few ransomware criminals but not enough of them; it’s a plague costing users millions of dollars.
The Vault 7 revelations, however, make me question how there can be any criminal activity at all in this country with Big Brother watching our every move. And why are our governments and municipalities spending billions to develop an outrageous surveillance state anyway? Blackmail? It doesn’t seem to prevent crime. I’d be very interested in the answer.
If legislators were honest they might say, “We have all this money and we have to spend it on something fun. This is fun.” For hackers working for the agencies, it does look like a lot of them are having fun developing tools. That would not be a surprise either. Not to worry, those questions will never be asked.
Here’s to the next cache of Vault 7 docs. Hopefully, they are more entertaining.