Wikileaks Says Your TV Can Spy On You – Is It True?

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This week marked another one of those Wikileaks data dumps, and this one’s got consumers in a panic. In a nutshell, Wikileaks says that thanks to some CIA and MI5 hi-jinks, your TV can spy on you. And so can your phone, your computer…pretty much any device with a microphone or videocam. But is it true?


Wikileaks Is Listening


The best, most level-headed discussion of this matter I’ve yet found is over on the excellent Tom’s Guide site. From Tom’s Guide:


Here’s what you need to know. The WikiLeaks revelation is likely part of a Russian disinformation campaign meant to undermine the U.S. intelligence agencies in general…

Some of the CIA hacking tools mentioned in the WikiLeaks dump are real. Some of them probably are not. We may never truly know which is which. (But we are intrigued by the one about turning a Samsung Smart TV into a listening device.)

For the moment, all we can tell you to do is to keep your PCs, Macs, iPhones and Android updated to the latest versions of their operating systems, to run antivirus software on Windows, macOS and Android, and to be wary of smart-home devices that are always listening to what you say. (And if your Android device can’t be updated beyond Android 5.1 Lollipop, get a new one.)

WikiLeaks says the cache of information, reportedly “8,761 documents and files,” came from “a former U.S. government hacker [or] contractor.” That’s possible. It’s also possible that it came straight from the Russian intelligence services, which is how WikiLeaks apparently obtained emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee.

As such, we can’t completely trust what’s in the files. But let’s go over the important stuff…


The article goes on to address Wikileaks’ allegations about each specific device and software type in greater detail: phones, apps, Samsung smart TVs, and antivirus software. Click here to read the full article on Tom’s Guide.


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