Should You Worry About Samsung And The CIA?

I usually take huge issues that the news is blowing out of proportion with a grain of salt.  This new theory that the CIA has hacked your Samsung Smart TV in order to listen in on your private conversations is another one of those news stories that the media has taken, and ran with it.

Most likely, the people reading this news article don’t have a whole lot of information that is valuable to the CIA.  For the most part, they have significantly bigger fish to fry than a home theater enthusiast.  I apologize for this assumption, I suppose I could be wrong.

Here is why you most likely have nothing to worry about.  Weeping Angel (a Doctor Who reference, by the way) applies only to Samsung televisions from 2012 and 2013 that feature outdated firmware versions 1111, 1112, and 1116. The exploit almost certainly impacts relatively few people, and there may be an easy way to tell if you’ve been hacked—Fake Off mode, as outlined in the 2014 document, leaves a blue LED on the back of the set illuminated.

However, if you are concerned that CIA is spying on you and listening into your conversations, your best bet is simply to unplug your TV when you are not using it.  For me, however, I’m not too concerned with them spying on me playing with my cat and binge watching Prison Break (yes, I’m still not done with Prison Break).

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Scott Hart

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7 Comments

  1. I would not assume that there are no current vulnerabilities in any smart tvs after the 2014 models or even the 2017 models regardless of brand. No one can hack the microphone or camera on my Samsung TV because there is no Ethernet cable going to the tv unless there is a way to hack in wirelessly from the curb using a laptop. If anyone is concerned about the CIA or NSA listening in or even some hacker then that person should not get Google home or Amazon Echo. Personally my concern is with tech that would allow someone easy access to my network using wifi or access to my home via a wifi enable lock! Granted these new devices have made it much easier for big brother to eavesdrop/spy on people but how many people are they going to honestly go after in this way? More likely that a hacker would hack your device to get ahold of credit card info. Not to mention no one knows how much ether one of these devices listen in and record what you say and how much ends up on Google and Amazon servers?

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  2. Dave Moritz

    I would not assume that there are no current vulnerabilities in any smart tvs after the 2014 models or even the 2017 models regardless of brand. No one can hack the microphone or camera on my Samsung TV because there is no Ethernet cable going to the tv unless there is a way to hack in wirelessly from the curb using a laptop. If anyone is concerned about the CIA or NSA listening in or even some hacker then that person should not get Google home or Amazon Echo. Personally my concern is with tech that would allow someone easy access to my network using wifi or access to my home via a wifi enable lock! Granted these new devices have made it much easier for big brother to eavesdrop/spy on people but how many people are they going to honestly go after in this way? More likely that a hacker would hack your device to get ahold of credit card info. Not to mention no one knows how much ether one of these devices listen in and record what you say and how much ends up on Google and Amazon servers?

    I absolutely agree, everything is vulnerable. I remember a while ago there was a thing going around saying "Mark Zuckerberg puts electrical tape over his TV and laptop cameras, and you should too"! I'm sorry, but the same people who are trying to hack MZ are not trying to hack me. Other than credit card and bank information, which I would like to think I keep pretty secure, I don't have a whole lot to hide.

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  3. I think this is serious but unsurprising. However it has been my experience that whenever the media "explains" technology they A) try to simplify it so that Joe Sixpack can understand it which more often than not means they get it wrong, and B) the more sensational it sounds the bigger the audience they will draw.

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