A big element that emerged from the release is the hacking of Samsung Smart TVs (and likely other smart TVs too.)
Here’s what you need to know.
According to WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 release, “Year Zero” exposes the CIA’s covert hacking program, including exploits against products like iPhone, Android, Windows, and Samsung TVs. The CIA has an extensive hacking division, WikiLeaks said, which is composed over over 5,000 registered users and more than a thousand hacking systems and malware. Samsung TVs are particularly vulnerable and “turned into covert microphones.”
The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
You can read all the files about Weeping Angel here.
Interestingly, this really shouldn’t come as a shock to the public. The CIA has been very open about its interest in hacking appliances. In fact, before Smart TVs became popular, it was known that the CIA wanted to spy on people through their appliances, according to this article by Network World. Then-CIA Director David Petraeus spoke at a CIA’s venture capital firm in 2012 and said the CIA was interested in monitoring items in the home that were connected to the Internet.
Right: 1984 pic.twitter.com/osywjYKV3W
— Parker Higgins (@xor) February 8, 2015
The warning read:
Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.
According to WikiLeaks’ file about the Samsung hack, the Samsung F8000 Smart TV was the one at risk. The file states that updating firmware over the Internet might remove the implant and that “Firmware version 1118+ eliminated current USB installation method.” Note: This doesn’t mean other types of Smart TVs weren’t hackable, this is just what is specifically noted in the file.