CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — In March, WikiLeaks published documents that accuse the CIA of targeting everyday gadgets as part of a surveillance program.
“The Central Intelligence Agency lost control of its entire cyber weapons arsenal,” said Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder. “This is a historic act of devastating incompetence.”
That’s how WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange described being able to get into the CIA systems to find hacking tools.
The concern for consumers? If WikiLeaks can hack into the CIA, perhaps others can, too, and get a hold of those tools.
“People should absolutely be concerned about their privacy,” said tech expert Matt Ham. He owns a chain of gadget repair stores, including The Computer Doctor in Charleston.
“With a variety of devices out there, the more features that get added, typically the less privacy that you can have,” said Ham.
For example, Ham said mentioned in the WikiLeaks report was the ability to hack into certain Samsung TVs.
“That was actually a hack that allowed the voice recognition software to record conversations,” said Ham.
Ham says voice recognition software listens to you all the time. This includes the Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s Siri.
Computers are also at risk, according to the WikiLeaks report.
“The CIA was potentially using malware to get into computers so that they can access specific information,” explained Ham.
Ham says hackers could also track conversations you have on cell phones, and they can break through passwords.
The important thing to know, though: Any way you use your gadget, your security is only a good as the company makes it. Ham says, sometimes that’s not good enough.
“Even the largest companies are still hackable. It’s accessible,” said Ham.
WikiLeaks’ Assange said that he’ll give some major tech companies exclusive access to the hacking tools he uncovered so that they can patch any holes in their security.
But, Ham said, “No matter what we do, we’re still sharing some kind of personal information.”
Every Monday and Thursday through May, News 2 I-Team’s Libba Holland will show you how to modify the settings on your devices to lower the risk of releasing your information to hackers.