Don't worry, the CIA didn't actually crack Signal

Don't worry, the CIA didn't actually crack Signal
There's a very specific piece of news that's been doing the rounds for the past few days, disturbing the inner peace of privacy advocates. WikiLeaks released more than 8,000 classified documents on Tuesday, detailing some of CIA's hacking and surveillance methods. And while there isn't much debate, regarding the legitimacy of the documents, a lot of medias jumped to the wrong conclusions, based on the leaked information.

According to the majority of the Internet, the CIA managed to crack the encryption of several secure messaging apps, including Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp and Confide. And while WhatsApp has been under fire before, the others were generally perceived as being as secure as possible up until that point. A lot of those statements are now corrected or redacted, though, as it turns out that the apps are still as private as ever, and the breaking news turned out to be a major misconception.

The CIA could still gain access to the conversations on these apps, but not by cracking the encryption itself. What the leaked documents reveal are methods to take control of devices and use that control to spy on the communication that's running through them.

Joseph Hall, chief technologist for the Center for Democracy & Technology, provided the following easy-to-understand explanation on what's actually happening for TechCrunch:

What this means is that, no matter how secure your apps are, there are methods for a hacker to spy on them. After all, the messages you receive have to be decrypted and displayed on the screen for you to read, and a simple screenshot will provide all the information one could get via the far more costly and complicated (if not impossible) decryption.

Don't worry, though. This doesn't mean that you're powerless to stop a hacker, trying to get to your data. It only means that you should not rely on encrypted messaging apps alone if you are serious about your privacy.

“Unfortunately, you have to keep very, very good control over your phone. There's just no perfect answer in terms of being 100% unexploitable,” said Joseph Hall.

source: TechCrunch



1. FlySheikh

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 02, 2015

Privacy online is a myth.

4. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Truer words my friend, truer words. They have definitely cracked all of these so called secure apps lol.

5. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

Correct! If you want privacy, buy a private island without any communication devices. No other way.

6. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

And live underground on that island to prevent satellite spying.

9. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1103; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Yea but then you have to worry about Moles...

12. southernzombie

Posts: 358; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

beware the mole people

2. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Do they spy on other countries outside the US?

3. stuck_788

Posts: 54; Member since: Jul 26, 2013

yes... they spied on all EU leaders in the last years... there was a scandal and Obama had to apologize for his behaviour

8. akaliel

Posts: 34; Member since: Jun 19, 2015

I believe they almost entirely operate outside the US. Internally there's other organizations that are more focused (i.e. NSA, FBI)

7. akaliel

Posts: 34; Member since: Jun 19, 2015

Before the headline of the this article, I'd never even heard of Signal.

10. akaliel

Posts: 34; Member since: Jun 19, 2015


11. lyndon420

Posts: 6865; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Here's a thought...stop letting terrorists into our country - yeah right like that will ever happen lol.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.