Wikileaks Unveils Project Protego: CIA’s Secret Missile Control System

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Every week since March Wikileaks has been leaking secrets from the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which mainly focus on surveillance techniques and hacking tools employed by its agents.

However this time, the whistleblower organisation has released something different from its previous Vault 7 leaks, because it’s not about hacking and spying; instead, it’s a—Missile Control System.

Dubbed Project Protego, the PIC-based missile control system is installed on-board a Pratt and Whitney Aircraft (PWA) equipped with missile launch system, which gives it ability to hit air-to-air and air-to-ground targets.

The latest leak contains four secret documents in total from the project Protego, along with “37 related documents (proprietary hardware/software manuals from Microchip Technology Inc),” WikiLeaks says.

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Leaked documents reveal system design, a guide on how to configure and build Protego images, and also suggest that all micro-controller units exchange data and signals over encrypted and authenticated channels.

“The missile system has micro-controllers for the missile itself (‘Missile Smart Switch’, MSS), the tube (‘Tube Smart Switch’, TSS) and the collar (which holds the missile before and at launch time).”

The missile launches only when the Master Processor (MP) unit receives three valid signals from a beacon, including ‘In Border,’ ‘Valid GPS,’ and ‘No End of Operational Period.’

WikiLeaks is not sure why the secret documents of project Protego were the part of repositories that belongs to the CIA’s Engineering Development Group, who are apparently known for developing malware and hacking tools for the agency.

However, notably, the CIA has developed Protego missile control system in partnership with one of a major U.S. defence contractor, Raytheon, who was also mentioned in a previous CIA leak.

Raytheon is the same company that the agency hired for analysing advanced malware and hacking techniques being used in the wild by hackers and cyber criminals.

It seems the name, Protego, has been inspired from the magical Shield Charm used in Harry Potter movies, which helped from physical attacks as wells as magical.

If so, then the primary objective of this missile control system could be to defend something (secret facility or base), from external physical attacks.

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