Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Concerned about the WikiLeaks smart TV disclosure? Here’s what you should know.

Samsung on Wednesday said that it is looking into reports based on WikiLeaks documents that the Central Intelligence Agency may have developed a way to access Samsung SmartTVs to control some features of the device and to record conversations within range of the television.

According to the documents, which have not been confirmed by the CIA, the agency was able to use a “Fake Off” mode to make the television appear inactive and record conversations. Only Samsung smart TVs from 2012 and 2013 that run the older 1111, 1112 and 1116 versions of the company's firmware are affected, the documents said.

“Protecting consumers’ privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung,” the company said. “We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter.” 

The WikiLeaks report adds to concerns that recently have been raised about smart televisions and spying. The report focuses on government surveillance, but the electronics companies themselves have been accused of using their televisions to invade customers' privacy.

Before the panic sets in, though, let's take a step back.

First, The Washington Post has not been able to independently verify what's described in the WikiLeaks information dump, and the CIA has declined to comment.

Second, the WikiLeaks document describes the hacking of individual, targeted devices. Judging by the information posted on WikiLeaks, the CIA needed to plug a USB drive into a television to get the hack to work. While some say it's likely that the CIA was also developing the ability to get into televisions remotely, as Forbes reported, there isn't proof that they've succeeded.

But if you still have concerns, there are some steps to take if you want to turn off the voice recording capabilities on your Samsung television. You can head to your settings menu, then select “Smart Features.” From there, you can choose “Voice Recognition” and turn it off.- More, washingtonpost

Concerned about the WikiLeaks smart TV disclosure? Here’s what you should know.


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