Recent information from WikiLeaks detailed how the CIA can snoop on us via our smartphones and that they can even read our encrypted messages, but the latest revelation is that the CIA is also targeting Samsung Smart TVs. The technic is known as the “Weeping Angel” and allows the TVs to be put into a “fake-off mode” while it is actually recording our conversations. This technic is the result of a supposedly joint effort by the CIA and UK’s MI5 – reminiscent of a James Bond spy thriller. Some think that the information that Edward Snowden leaked via is a Godsend while others call it treason, but it has opened our eyes and made manufacturers’ aware of vulnerabilities in their software. What is so disheartening is that the CIA has the responsibility to 'spy' overseas while the FBI is to monitor domestic matters, so it seems like the guidelines are disappearing.
Samsung has long held its Smart TVs in high esteem and seemed rather startled by the news, and a spokesperson said, "Protecting consumers' privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung. We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter." The group, Privacy International, which champions its commitment to human rights and their privacy jumped into the situation and voiced their desire for more regulation into government hacking. They believe that if the CIA knew about the vulnerabilities that smartphones and Smart TVs possess, then the CIA should have been working with the manufacturers to fix those issues to protect us from foreign spying.
The problem stems from the fact that newer electronics, in an effort to be more convenient for us to use, are hooked to the internet which is one of the places hackers relentlessly target. Smartphones can automatically connect to WiFi when it can find a signal to save on data usage. As soon as people make that connection, they might be more likely to get hacked. The same goes with the new Smart TVs – by hooking up to the internet, people can enjoy Netflix, Pandora, and other apps on the big screen rather than on a smaller smartphone, tablet, or computer screen. By leaving the internet connected 24/7 it makes the camera on things like laptops ready to send pictures of what it ‘sees.’ The speakers on a Smart TV can turn into microphones, and newer Smart TVs have their own microphone built in for voice capable commands. This could potentially open up TVs to hackers, and worse, government hackers, to have a ‘seat’ in the private living room, den, or bedroom of people's homes.