Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

WikiLeaks ‘CouchPotato’ Dump: CIA’s video hacking programme seemingly revealed

WikiLeaks is at it again, this time unveiling what it claims are more details of a surveillance programme operated by the CIA.

Specifically, this latest data dump in the Vault 7 series contains information on the CIA’s ‘CouchPotato’ hacking tool.

This alleged CIA project concerns hacking video streams, it’s claimed, and is said to target devices running the Windows OS.

Related: Best VPN

According to WikiLeaks, CouchPotato is a “system for intercepting video chat and security camera streams,” and can remotely hack those streams, unlike the previous programme WikiLeaks claimed to uncover: ‘Dumbo’.

Dumbo was said to relate to the CIA’s ability to hack and mute microphones and disrupt webcam recordings, and required the physical addresses of the devices it targeted.

But CouchPotato can, according to WikiLeaks, target IP-based surveillance cameras, and since the operator has the specific URLs for the video streams, those being targeted could theoretically be entirely unaware of any CIA intrusion.

WikiLeaks’ user guide for the latest revelations state: “CouchPotato is a remote tool for collection against RTSP/H.264 video streams.

“It provides the ability to collect either the stream as a video file (AVI) or capture still images (JPG) of frames from the stream that is of significant change from a previously captured frame.”

Using CouchPotato, WikiLeaks says the CIA can save specific video streams in AVI format or as JPEG images.

What’s more, the system is also supposedly capable of identifying movement in a video and only saving those specific parts – cutting out any time periods where there was no activity.

How long has this been going on, according to WikiLeaks? Well, the system apparently dates back to 2014, with only the first version being detailed in the latest data dump.

Just where the programme is now remains unclear, so it could be the programme was developed or possibly even scrapped – as the information seems to indicate CouchPotato put a huge strain on computers’ system resources.

Let us know your thoughts on CouchPotato on social media.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.