WikiLeaks will provide technology companies with exclusive access to CIA hacking tools that it possesses so they can patch software flaws, founder Julian Assange said on Thursday, presenting Silicon Valley with a potential dilemma on how to deal with the anti-secrecy group.
If the offer is legitimate, it would place technology companies in the unusual position of relying on Assange, a man believed by some U.S. officials and lawmakers to be an untrustworthy pawn of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to share cyber vulnerabilities stockpiled by a secretive U.S. spy agency.
It was not clear how WikiLeaks intended to cooperate with the companies. The group published documents on Tuesday describing secret Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools and snippets of computer code. It did not publish the full programs that would be needed to actually conduct cyber exploits against phones, computers and Internet-connected televisions.
“Considering what we think is the best way to proceed and hearing these calls from some of the manufacturers, we have decided to work with them to give them some exclusive access to the additional technical details that we have so that the fixes can be developed and pushed out, so people can be secure,” Assange said during an online press conference from the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
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