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Apple says it’s working to fix security holes revealed by the WikiLeaks release of CIA documents

The leaks detail 14 different iOS exploits that the CIA could use to compromise Apple devices.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook (center) with Apple SVP Eddy Cue
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Apple says it’s working to fix any holes the CIA may have exploited in what appears to be a number of spying programs the agency employed.

Yesterday, the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released a cache of more than 8,000 documents that detail classified CIA cyberspying programs.

According to the leaks, the CIA has a trove of malware that can undermine security and encryption measures on Apple’s iPhones, Mac OS operating system and AirPort routers, as well as Google Android phones, machines running Windows operating systems, Samsung smart TVs and other connected devices.

Apple responded late yesterday and said it plans to fix any vulnerabilities:

Apple is deeply committed to safeguarding our customers’ privacy and security. The technology built into today’s iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we’re constantly working to keep it that way. Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80 percent of users running the latest version of our operating system. While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities. We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates.

Apple made headlines last year for its principled stance against helping the FBI break the encryption on an iPhone used by a suspect in the San Bernardino shooting. The FBI eventually dropped its case after it claimed to have purchased a solution for hacking into the suspect’s locked iPhone.

It appears the CIA had also amassed tools for undermining iPhone security features, according to the WikiLeaks documents.

The leaks actually reveal 14 different iOS exploits that the CIA could use to hack into Apple products, many of which were shared with the GCHQ, the U.K.’s spy agency. The exploits had all kinds of bizarre, secret spy code names like Elderpiggy, Wintersky, Persistence and Rhino.

The WikiLeaks files also detailed numerous exploits that target users of Microsoft Windows, with programs that describe ways the agency can infect a computer with malware or viruses by hiding the malicious programs in CDs, in image files and USB sticks. We reached out to Microsoft for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

The leaks also included CIA tactics for compromising the security on Android phones, but Google would not comment.

A bit of advice: Run all the updates available on your personal electronics when prompted to do so — just to make sure you can take advantage right away of any security vulnerabilities that are patched.

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