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Tap my TV? You better watch what you wish for

By Joe Centers • Mar 14, 2017 at 12:00 PM

The government has its eye on you.

The latest revelations about the U.S. government’s powerful hacking tools potentially takes surveillance right into the homes and hip pockets of billions of users worldwide, showing how a remarkable variety of everyday devices can be turned to spy on their owners, according to a story in the Washington Post.

Televisions, smartphones and even anti-virus software are all vulnerable to CIA hacking, according to the WikiLeaks documents released a week ago today. The capabilities described include recording the sounds, images and the private text messages of users, even when they resort to encrypted apps to communicate.

While many of the attack technologies had been discussed at cybersecurity conferences previously, experts were startled to see evidence that the CIA had turned so many theoretical vulnerabilities into functioning attack tools against staples of modern life. These include widely used Internet routers, smartphones and Mac and Windows computers.

In the case of a tool called “Weeping Angel” for attacking Samsung SmartTVs, WikiLeaks wrote, “After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.”

How would you like that job? Who is the guy who has to sit there and monitor our TV while we are watching it?

I bet they are all lining up to monitor our house.

The bulk of the time our TV is on HGTV or The History Channel.

That means a steady dose of “American Pickers,” “Pawn Stars,” “Mountain Men” and
“Swamp People” thanks to The History Channel.

HGTV features either “Fixer Upper,” “Flip of Flop” or “Flea Market Flip.”

On Thursday it’s “The Big Bang Theory” and for the last couple of months, Monday has been home of “The Batchelor.”

Here’s an idea for the CIA or anybody who is hacking into our television.

Take all of the episodes of “The Batchelor” and put them to good use.

There are always debates about what kind of torture we can or can’t use:

• Hooding, that is, placing hoods or sacks over the head of a detainee; using duct tape over the eyes;

• Applying beatings, electric shock, burns or other forms of physical pain;

• Waterboarding;

• Using military working dogs;

• Inducing hypothermia or heat injury;

• Conducting mock executions;

• Depriving the detainee of necessary food, water or medical care.

How about taking the person, sitting them down in a room and forcing them to watch week after week of “The Batchelor”?

Give them a double dose of Nick Viall and Corinne.

I wonder if the Geneva Convention would approve of that.

As you can tell, I’m not too worried about somebody tapping my television or cell phone.

I’ve got nothing to hide (except maybe “Dancing with the Stars,” this season featuring Nick Viall, Mr. T and Nancy Kerrigan).

I really need to get a life.


Joe Centers is the Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at jcenters@norwalkreflector.com. 

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