If you have ever watched or read “1984” you know that Big Brother was so invasive that the government even used citizen’s Televisions to spy on them. Well, guess what. Wikileaks has just outed both the CIA and MI5 for developing technology to do the exact same thing. Not only that, but they could spy on you even if the television were turned off.
In all fairness to the two spy agencies, they have not achieved the ability to use all TV’s as surveillance devices, but they have succeeded in hacking certain Samsung smart TVs and converting them into remote listening devices. And before you think it’s no big deal, it doesn’t matter if the TV is switched off. This has opened up a whole new set of possibilities for the government to invade your privacy and spy on their citizens in some of our most private moments.
The recent disclosure has revealed new privacy issues not just in the US and the United Kingdom, but in homes around the world. The high-tech cyber espionage program was outlined in the latest data released yesterday by Wiki Leaks. The story talks about how the CIA and MI5 held a joint workshop in June 2014 which resulted in the development of covert hacking and listening techniques, which were given the code name ‘Weeping Angel’.
The techniques evidently do not work on all televisions, but developers were successful in using them to hack into the Samsung F8000 smart TV series.
The F8000 series was touted as a premium smart TV in 2013 when it was introduced by Samsung and has the ability to be voice and motion. It is not known exactly how many F8000’s have been sold globally, but Samsung is the best selling brand world wide with a 21% market share. The Wiki Leaks documents also said the spy agencies had succeeded in creating a fake off situation where it appears the television is off but is really on and transmitting real-time information back to the agency.
They were so successful with the workshop, that there is also a “To do” list of things to work on in future development seminars. In addition to Streaming Audio, adding a video capability to the spying is also listed on the wish list. The spy agencies have already developed the ability to extract browser and WPA/Wi-Fi credentials and history, with plans to develop a ‘Fake-Off’ mechanism for WiFi, enabling them to transfer data even when WiFi appears to be off.
So the best advice is to always remember the immortal words of George Orwell, “Big Brother is watching.” Apparently he is also listening.