Hackers at the Central Intelligence Agency, with the help of colleagues from the British spy agency MI5, developed malware to secretly spy on targets through their Samsung Smart TVs, according to new documents published by WikiLeaks.
On Tuesday, WikiLeaks dumped a large cache of documents allegedly coming from the CIA’s hacking unit. Julian Assange’s organization dubbed the release, which it says it’s the first in a series, as “Vault 7,” and billed it as the largest-ever of confidential CIA intelligence documents.
“Weeping Angel already hooks key presses […] to cause the system to enter Fake-Off rather than Off.”
The CIA and MI5 called the project to spy on Samsung Smart TVs “Weeping Angel,” perhaps a reference to Doctor Who, where weeping angels are “the deadliest, most powerful, most malevolent life-form ever produced.” The malware was designed to keep the smart TVs on even when they were turned off. This was dubbed “Fake-Off mode,” according to the documents. The CIA hackers even developed a way to “suppress” the TVs LED indicators to improve the “Fake-Off” mode.
Angel already hooks key presses from the remote (or TV goes to sleep)
to cause the system to enter Fake-Off rather than Off,” one of the
leaked document reads. “Since the implant is already hooking these events, the implant knows when the TV will be entering Fake-Off mode.”
After this article was published, Samsung reacted with a statement.