After giving a glimpse into the US spy agency CIA’s hacking of smart phones, personal computers and Samsung smart TVs, the WikiLeaks has now released the CIA’s user guide for hacking tool “Weeping Angel,” which is derived from another tool called “Extending,” which belongs to UK’s intelligence agency MI5/BTSS.
The WikiLeaks released the 31-page user manual immediately after American authorities said they were considering seeking the arrest of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, who is currently in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition over accusations of rape in Sweden.
Assange claims the US government is using the allegations as a proxy and will immediate extradite him if he steps foot on Swedish soil.
Weeping Angel (and Extending) are capable of tapping into a Samsung smart TV’s internal microphone, where it can then record and store sound/voice data. This in essence turns the TV’s into covert listening devices as a part of targeted surveillance operations. Weeping Angel is also sophisticated enough to collect audio information while giving the appearance that the TV is actually turned off.
The WikiLeaks revelations also show how the USA, UK and probably other powerful nations too, pay scant attention to international law and eavesdrop on citizens and rival leaders in order to maintain and intensify their global domination.
The user guide goes into great detail on how to install/uninstall the malware, how to retrieve audio recordings and how MI5 (and by extension, the CIA) can listen in to conversations live using a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The British version of the malware is called “Extending” and was only capable of being deployed on 2013-era Samsung F-Series televisions. The Live Listen Tool is compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems.
The original British documentation for Extending/Weeping Angel is dated February 2014, is stamped with “UK Eyes Only” and classified as Secret Strap 2. Strap 2 is the middle-tier level of sensitivity in the British intelligence agency’s STRAP System, with Strap 3 being the most sensitive.
Wikileaks mentioned that the two agencies, CIA and MI5/BTSS made collaborative efforts to create Weeping Angel during their Joint Development Workshops. These workshops were held sometime around June 2014.
CIA managed to implement a “Fake Off” mode to deceive users into believing that the TV is turned off while they secretly record conversations. However, they weren’t able to deduce a method to turn off the blue light on the backside of the TV or the Samsung logo that might help the user sense something fishy.