Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

How to Keep Your Smart TV from Spying on You

We used to think it was only the evil Russians and Chinese who were behind malware and spyware. The recent release by Wikileaks of 8,761 CIA documents detailing the agency’s hacking of smart phones, routers, computers, and even televisions proves that the Russians and the Chinese aren’t the only “bad guys.” Even the people we thought were the “good guys” instead are really evil.

The files reveal that the CIA can and has hacked devices that were supposedly secure– iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. The CIA is even deliberately infecting personal computers with spyware, including Windows, Macintosh OS/X, Solaris, Linux, and other operating systems. Perhaps even worse, the CIA is also infecting your television set and mine, including Samsung smart TVs, through a program called “Weeping Angel”. Even if you think the TV is off, it’s not. Your smart TV may well be listening in to your conversations and even watching you from its built-in video camera.

If caught, the CIA apparently says, “We’ll just blame the Russians.”

Writing in the ZDNet web site, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols tells how to (partially) block spying by your Samsung, LG, or Vizio television set. He also writes, “As South Korean security expert Seung-Jin Lee showed in 2013, there’s no security worthy of the name in most smart TVs. Lee showed 10 different vulnerabilities that would allow him to get a root shell on the device.”

Vaughan-Nichols ends by writing, “I choose to keep the TV vendors out of my personal life. I think you should too.”

Words to live by. Check out his entire article at

Categories: Offline Privacy & Security, Online Privacy & Security

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