Documents released by WikiLeaks show that the CIA kept records of malware attacks supposedly stolen from outside agents, including the Russian government, used to “misdirect attribution” of hacking sources.
“The CIA’s hand crafted hacking techniques pose a problem for the agency,” WikiLeaks explains. “Each technique it has created forms a ‘fingerprint’ that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity.
That’s where the CIA’s UMBRAGE team comes in. WikiLeaks describes UMBRAGE team’s activities:
The UMBRAGE team maintains a library of application development techniques borrowed from in-the-wild malware. The goal of this repository is to provide functional code snippets that can be rapidly combined into custom solutions. Rather than building feature-rich tools, which are often costly and can have significant CI value, this effort focuses on developing smaller and more targeted solutions built to operational specifications.
According to WikiLeaks, the UMBRAGE team then “collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation. With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the ‘fingerprints’ of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.”
This means that the CIA could use a malware attack originally developed by another country to “misdirect attribution” for the hack away from themselves. Within the UMBRAGE arsenal of malware is a collection of “keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.” A directory of the tools collected by the UMBRAGE team can be found here.