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WikiLeaks, just a couple of days back, released a disturbing news on how the Central Intelligence Agency  has been spying on the common man via smart TVs, Smartphones etc. The leak was called WikiLeaks’s vault7 release and Valut7  has been the largest ever publication of highly confidential CIA documents revealing their secret activities when it comes to cyberspace and smart tech.

The 8,761 documents and files shows how CIA’s Center of Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia, operated. The agency is said to be using malware, viruses, Trojans and other questionable methods to spy on citizens and suspects.

wikileaks cia leaks

Today, we will focus CIA’s method of using your SmartTV and other smart gadgets to spy on you. Remember, the CIA can even bypass smartphone encryption apps like WhatsApp.

Let’s see what they can do and how you defend yourself.

1. Smart TV

The CIA’s first target was Samsung smart TVs. CIA worked with UK’s spy MI5/BTSS to do this.

How They Launch the Attack: In the TV, there is an option called ‘Fake – OFF’ mode, once that’s activated, and when you as the owner Press {{MUTE}} + {{POWER}} you will think that you just switched off your TV, but that’s not the case. Hence, Fake-Off is a bug and it can record conversation, take pictures from your TV camera and send them to CIA servers.

What you must do: Nothing much. Simply download the SmartTV firmware or any update only from Samsung website. Never install any kind of driver software or updates from other websites. If you can’t do these, just paste a black sticker over your SmartTV camera. That way you will at least know that you are not being recorded live.

2. Smart cars

WikiLeaks documents states that in October 2014, the CIA was actively working on infecting smart vehicle control systems. The purpose of such assignment was not mentioned, but it is suspected that the CIA might use it to conduct assassinations in undetectable manner.

What you can do: Don’t let anyone plug any kind of devices into your smart car. Ensure you know what you are installing and updating via plug and play devices.

3. Smart Phones

The CIA’s Mobile Devices Branch has numerous tools to hack smart phones targetting Android and iOS devices. In 2016, the documents showed that CIA had 24 “weaponised” Android “zero days,” which it had jointly developed with GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.

How CIA attacks your phone: There are many ways. It can be via SMS, website URL , social engineering or by fooling users to install an app. Once infected, and hacked, your phone is used to transmit your “geolocation, audio and text communications” directly to the CIA HQ without your knowledge. In addition, the CIA can remotely activate your smart phone’s microphone and camera.

According to the leak, WikiLeak said CIA can even bypass encryption of WhatsApp and many popular messaging services. Even OS device users are not safe. Your microphone can be remotely activated by the agency.

What you can do: Never install any apps except from Google Play Store. Even while installing from Play Store, ensure what types of permissions the application requited at the time of installation.

4. Windows, Linux, Mac OS, routers

CIA also targetted Microsoft Windows operating system with a malware. This involves various kinds of local and remote tools like CD/DVDs, malware, USBs. CIA’s Automated Implant Branch has developed attack systems for automated infection and control of CIA malware, such as “Assassin” and “Medusa”.

What you can do: Use only original MS software and never install any other local software. Don’t  download free pdf, listen to free music or watch a free movie. These are the areas where you can accidentally download infected file which may be transmitted your details over the internet.

Stay smart and stay safe from prying eyes.

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