Signal makers say NYT’s CIA hacking claims are mostly noise

The New York Times detailed a new stash of documents released by WikiLeaks, indicating that the CIA used “sophisticated software tools” to break into connected devices like smartphones, computers, and smart TVs. Even more startling, the U.S. government was allegedly able to bypass encrypted messaging apps like Signal and WhatsApp, which the Times described as something that “would rock the technology world” if true.

The problem with this claim is the phrasing. It’s a big deal that the CIA hacked into connected devices, but the report seems to suggest that the apps themselves had a major flaw. That doesn’t appear to be the case. Instead, the feds circumvented encryption by hacking the phones, which makes it possible for anyone to access any app on the phones. 

Open Whisper Systems, the organization behind Signal, also tweeted a similar clarification: