WikiLeaks has published more secret hacking manuals belonging to the US Central Intelligence Agency as part of its Vault7 series of leaks. The site is billing Vault7 as the largest publication of intelligence documents ever.
Friday’s installment includes 27 documents related to “Grasshopper,” the code name for a set of software tools used to build customized malware for Windows-based computers. The Grasshopper framework provides building blocks that can be combined in unique ways to suit the requirements of a given surveillance or intelligence operation. The documents can be useful to potential CIA targets looking for signatures and other signs indicating their Windows systems were hacked. The leak will also prove useful to competing malware developers who want to learn new techniques and best practices.
There are almost 12 million pages of its records online, from the CIA, allowing anyone with an internet connection to browse 50 years worth of declassified intelligence reports, briefings, and other once-secret documents. The database contains US discussions about assassinating Fidel Castro, details of Nazi war crimes, reports of UFO sightings, and a study into human telepathy dubbed “Project Star Gate,” and Mind Control.
Amazon has more than 100 job openings for people who can get a top secret clearance, which includes a U.S. government administered polygraph examination. It needs software developers, operations managers and cloud support engineers, among others.Amazon’s hiring effort includes an invitation-only recruiting event for systems support engineers at its Herndon, Va., facility on Sept. 24 and 25. Amazon was initially selected by the U.S. over IBM to build a cloud platform. IBM protested the award and prevailed in an administrative ruling. Amazon filed a 61-page complaint in federal court last month challenging the decision to re-bid this project.
The vendors were required to address hypothetical scenarios. In one instance, it involved the processing of 100 terabytes of data. But the scenario was ambiguous, and the vendors priced it in different ways, making it impossible to compare prices, wrote Moran.
There were other issues with the bid, but overall the Ptak Noel report said the CIA “did a poor job with a poorly worded” request for proposals. The Ptak Noel report goes further and argues that the “CIA showed bias in favor of Amazon,” but it also faulted IBM, saying the company needed to do a better job of writing and presenting its proposal. IBM said it did not pay for the Ptak Noel report.
Amazon describes IBM as “a traditional fixed IT infrastructure provider and late entrant to the cloud computing market.”
IT’s analyst Charles King, says he’s “a bit uncomfortable with Amazon’s positioning” in the lawsuit of cloud services “as something new that a vendor like IBM is somehow incapable of delivering.”
The government was apparently willing to pay a premium for Amazon’s cloud implementation. The amount of the bid by the vendors wasn’t disclosed, but government evaluation of the bids put the prices at $148 million for Amazon versus $93 million for IBM.
Analysis of this dispute is difficult because the government has redacted parts of the information around it. But Bill Moran, an analyst at Ptak Noel & Associates, describes in a report, some of the problems the vendors faced.