How to check if your TV is being hacked – Weeping Angel
Just last week it was reported that U.S. and British intelligence agencies CIA and MI5 discovered ways to gain access to certain Samsung smart TVs. This made news headlines following the document release from WikiLeaks which refers to “fake off” mode, basically enabling the person spying to listen in and possibly see those on the other side of the TV screen whilst making the screen appear as though it’s switched off.
The hack has been named Weeping Angel which seems to be based on the Doctor Who villain who turns to stone when seen by others but then attacks them when their eyes are closed or they turn their backs on it.
In the same way, the alleged Weeping Angel software turns the TV evil when you’re not watching it, tricking users into thinking the unit has shut down when actually it’s spying on its owners, recording conversations from their homes before sending it over the internet to the intelligence agencies.
The thought of anyone spying on us is a horrid feeling and total invasion of privacy!
As smart televisions now connect to the internet unfortunately we are susceptible to more types of these attacks which is why it’s crucial to have the latest software updates installed to help protect yourself.
Signs to look out for
Although the purpose of the hack is to disguise the TV being on there is a way to work out if your television is properly turned off or if it’s in so-called fake off mode. Look out for a blue LED light on the rear of the TV. If this light is still on after you’ve turned it off, then fake off has been triggered.
Which TVs are affected?
This hack affects Samsung televisions which came out in 2012 and 2013 and are running outdated firmware versions 1111, 1112, and 1116. To check whether your TV is one of the affected here’s a list of the vulnerable Samsung models.
Samsung E8000GF plasma
Samsung UNF8000 series
Samsung F8500 plasma
Samsung UNF7500 series
Samsung UNF7000 series
How to protect yourself from Weeping Angel
Although Weeping Angel affects some of the older Samsung TVs it’s also reliant on them having outdated firmware, which is why it’s important to ensure your firmware is updated.