Are you being surveilled though your TV screen? 9

Your Samsung Smart TVs may have been turned into a CIA listening device, according to documents published by WikiLeaks yesterday.

Infowars reports:

The attack, which seems to require physical access to the TV and an infected USB drive, enables a “Fake-Off mode” that allows the microphone to be accessed remotely even after the TV has been seemingly turned off. The malware also suppresses the TV’s LED lights, removing any suspicion that the device is still active.

Weeping Angel can also reportedly extract usernames, passwords and Wi-Fi keys – allowing access to the target’s network and other connected devices.

“The tool appears to be under active development,” security researcher Matthew Hickey told Forbes. “The capabilities it boasts cannot currently capture video, according to the leaked docs. But that is a goal of the project. It can record audio but it does not stream it in real-time to the CIA. Instead it copies it off the TV as files.”

The malware called “Weeping Angel” is said to have been developed by the CIA about three years ago in collaboration with Britain’s internal spy agency MI5.

Hickey also stated that Weeping Angel may be neutralized if the target updates their TV’s firmware since the malware is designed specifically for versions below 1118. …

[But] the CIA can also use a feature known as “prevent updates” to stop a device from removing the malware. While a factory reset code can bring the TV back to its original state, most users are unlikely to closely monitor their firmware version.

Security researchers have long warned about vulnerabilities with not only Samsung TVs but with IoT (Internet of Things) devices in general.

In a 2012 Wired article, entitled, CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher, then-CIA Director David Petraeus heralded emerging technologies in relation to espionage. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus said, “particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.”

As reported by Infowars in 2012, security firm ReVuln discovered similar issues that allowed a Samsung TV’s microphone and camera to be accessed.

“It could give an attacker the ability to access any file available on the remote device, as well as external devices (such as USB drives) connected to the TV,” Security Ledger reported at the time. “And, in an Orwellian twist, the hole could be used to access cameras and microphones attached to the Smart TVs, giving remote attacker the ability to spy on those viewing a compromised set.”

While the vast majority of smart TV users are not going to have their devices physically targeted by CIA, Samsung has admitted in its own terms of service that a user’s personal conversations can be recorded and transmitted to third parties – creating a larger attack surface for the private data.

“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,” the policy stated.

An “Orwellian twist?” This story is pure Orwell. Spying on private lives by the state through TV screens as such was prophesied  in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four: 

[Winston Smith] thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept our head you could still outwit them. With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking.

Winston Smith discovers he is wrong about that. His thoughts get not only found out but changed, by torture and terror, to those the state – “Big Brother” – wants him to have. Remember the horrifying last words of the novel?

He loved Big Brother.

Who has allowed America to become a Big Brother’s state? Whose idea was it? Why?

And what are Americans going to do about it?

Where’s the outrage?

Posted under Leftism, News, Treason, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, March 8, 2017

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This post has 9 comments.

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  • Bruce

    The only place that surveillance like this makes sense and may actually be needed is against elected officials and unelected bureaucrats. They say they like transparency? Then let us have transparency.

    • An excellent idea, Bruce! I second it with enthusiasm.

  • I’ve heard a rumour they can do this with your smartphone as well (turn it on when it looks like its off). Tin foil hats do not work against this, I have tried it. What you have to do is turn off all electronic devices, put them in a skip, and go and live in the woods in a tent.

    • Or say nothing near any device (even fridges are suspect) that could ever be used against you. And loudly, persistently, actively express outrage that this is happening at all – in both the US and the UK – until it stops. Perhaps all government agencies need to be shut down and the vital ones (only) started anew staffed with Trumpists and Leave-ists. Drain the “deep state”. (I have thought of most of the objections that would be made to this plan, but it should be considered before being modified.)

      • liz

        I totally agree on draining the “Deep State”. But mixed feelings on the spying stuff. I’m all for using any and every method possible to catch terrorists. But as we’ve already seen, the same methods in the hands of traitors like Obama can target law abiding citizens.

        • Yes, thanks liz, you’ve put your finger right on the main difficulty. How much of our freedom are we willing to give up to be protected from terrorists and subversives? That’s the knotty problem. The creation of that dilemma is one of the evils that the terrorist wars have brought upon us.

          • I googled the smartphone story and it was part of Snowden’s revelations:

            http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/06/technology/security/nsa-turn-on-phone/

            One question in my mind is – have the security services created a security flaw in everyone’s devices in order to enable them to do this? If they have, could it also be used by criminals if they find out how to exploit it?

            If the NSA or whoever can do this remote switching on, then could also the worst kinds of criminals – and even enemy spies as well, eventually discover how to use it? That’s a big question that I don’t know the answer to of course..

            • Really sinister, what Snowden reveals.

              Bad – and as you suggest, could be even worse.

              Please tell us if you find out more. I’ll ask one or two people who might know about such things what their reaction is to what’s happening, and how bad it could get. There are plenty of cyber-experts here in the Valley, and I know a few of them. But this might be beyond their expertise.

      • Agreed. That argument against the surveillance state that I quoted a while back –

        If they installed CCTV cameras in all of our bedrooms they would probably be able to solve a lot more crimes, but it wouldn’t really be acceptable, would it.

        Funnily enough, that’s exactly what they have done.