There isn't much funny about the CIA's covert hacking operations or the WikiLeaks dump that put thousands of documents about them on the internet on Tuesday. Some of the secret code names for these operations are pretty funny, though. Those spooks at Langley must have a sense of humour.
It's not just the fact that some the names in the documents are silly. They actually appear to verify at least some of the information in the dump. As The New York Times reported, "One former intelligence officer who briefly reviewed the documents on Tuesday morning said some of the code names for CIA programs, an organisation chart and the description of a CIA hacking base appeared to be genuine."
So let's talk about those code names, in some particular order.
Built in partnership with the NSA and GCHQ, this malware lets the CIA remotely access Chrome browsers on Android devices. It also sounds like an episode of Ren and Stimpy.
Here's an actual line in an allegedly secret CIA document about this software that targets Windows computers: "Simply put, Cal is RickyBobby's best friend: SHAKE N BAKE!" The document also includes these photos:
This attack system can make it look like a CIA hacker is using an innocent program like VLC or playing a game like 2048, when the agent is actually doing some serious hacking. It's like the escargot of attack systems.
Unclear if the name of this attack is funny or just frightening, because it lets CIA hackers turn Samsung Smart TVs into always-on microphones that can snoop on anybody in the room. Samsung even warned customers that this might be possible a couple years ago. Look who's crying now.
It's tough to decipher what this program is all about, but the leaked documents do include some advice from a CIA hacker: "Don't noob it up so hard next time."
This suite is also mysterious. Must be why the CIA calls these tools magic.
Details on this tool are also vague. But at least the CIA went through the trouble of making a very special logo that includes the eponymous meme/advice animal from which the name derives:
Something seems sexual about this malware that lets spooks hack into Microsoft Exchange servers and retrieve data, like emails and stuff. Or maybe it's a really bad Silver Surfer reference.
Along with its counterpart NightMonkey, this malware gives hackers privileges on Android devices and sounds like a Sponge Bob character.
This iOS malware was apparently built by World of Warcraft fans, judging by the image on the top of the document:
It's unclear if this program gets its name from steroids or haemorrhoids. Assume the worst.
And we've reached peak spy hacker bro terminology. Guess which other silly-named hacking tool this tool helps to install… Ricky Bobby, of course.