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HD Report | May 27, 2017

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Leaked CIA Docs Include Samsung Smart TV Hack

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Sam Donaldson

samsung-box-logoIt’s like something out of George Orwell’s “1984.” New purportedly leaked C.I.A. documents obtained by WikiLeaks reveal thousands of pages of software that can be used for surveillance, cyber warfare, anti-virus, and more. The leak may be the largest yet, and WikiLeaks has posted part of the classified horde of documents to almost 8,000 web pages and 943 attachments in what they call Vault7.

Among the spying software allegedly explored by the C.I.A. in these documents is a way to use Samsung Smart TVs to record conversations while appearing to be turned off. The software was apparently built by EDG (Engineering Development Group) who develop, test, and support computer malware for the C.I.A. such as viruses, Trojan horses, and backdoors.

WikiLeaks says the Samsung Smart TV infiltration was also developed with the help of the United Kingdom’s MI5/BTSS (are you listening Ethan Hunt?). The surveillance software, branded “Weeping Angel,” is able to fool the owner into thinking the TV is off, all the while utilizing the Smart TV’s microphone to send conversations over the internet to any “big brother” who may be listening.

The documents also include ways to break into Android and Apple iOS devices, routers running on Linux, OSx, and Windows, and smart cars and trucks. What may be sending encryption experts back to the drawing board are alleged software hacks that allow the government to grab voice and message data before it is encrypted by applications such as WhatsApp and Telegram.

Looking for some code to spy on your neighbor? Not so fast. WikiLeaks editors have redacted much of the content though obtained in the leaks to avoid making the actual code public. The publication says they have several hundred million lines of computer code in their possession.

However, in terms of the Smart TV hack it apparently only affects Samsung TVs manufactured between 2012 and 2013. Owners of Samsung TVs built during those years may have outdated firmware running that can be updated via USB or Internet connection.

Samsung models manufactured during those years include the UNES7550F, UNES8000F, E8000GF, UNF7000 series, UNF7500 series, UNF8000 series, and UNF8500 series.

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