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WikiLeaks reveals CIA hacking secrets of smartphones and other smart gadgets

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The CIA is not confirming or denying the WikiLeaks memos that show the nation’s spy agency created tools to secretly access smartphones and TV’s.

WikiLeaks’ recent dump of alleged confidential CIA documents show tools that could be used to access Apple’s iPhones and Android devices.

“Once these phones are hacked into via their operating systems, then a hacker can look and read your messages just like if they had unlocked your phone with a thumbprint or passcode,” CNET Cybersecurity Reporter Laura Hautala explained.

One of the alleged tools is called “Weeping Angel.”

It attacks Samsung TVs and could allow someone to listen in on conversations using the set’s microphone.

The documents also claim the tool had a fake off switch to deceive users.

This is not a surprise to Internet Security Expert Tim Helming from the company DomainTools.

“When you have a device that’s connected to the internet that was not designed for security…we don’t know what vulnerabilities exist that potentially could affect those TV’s,” Helming said.

For better security, Helming says people should buy a TV that is not connected to the internet.

“You can get all of those benefits through other ways that are safe. You can use a Chromecast or an Apple TV or something like that. You can watch the same content without the TV itself being connected to the internet,” Helming explained.

It’s also important for consumers to stay on top of the firmware updates for their TVs and smartphones because the updates are crucial for your device’s security.

“Manufacturers are constantly finding vulnerabilities, patching them.  Researchers find vulnerabilities and report them, so keeping stuff patched is really important if you do use those special features,” Helming explained.

In the Samsung case released by WikiLeaks, Helming said someone would have to connect the TV to a USB flash drive for the hack to work.

Apple says its recent patch takes care of these issues and Samsung says it’s investigating.

 

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