COLM O'REGAN: Don’t lobby the TD for rural broadband just yet

It’s just another example of how the home is no longer your castle but a castle that’s been thrown open to the public in order to pay for its upkeep.

THE telly! We expect it of mobile phones, iPads and smart watches. They are interlopers in the modern house. 

But to hack the telly? That goes to the heart of what we call home. 

They might as well hack the picture of the Sacred Heart, a calendar from the oil man, or the cork notice-board with the next appointment for the proctologist pinned to it.

It’s just another example of how the home is no longer your castle but actually a castle that’s been thrown open to the public in order to pay for its upkeep.

Since news emerged from WikiLeaks, that the CIA may have hacked some televisions to spy on people, there has been a rash of alarmist columns warning you about the dangers of the connected world.

And this column is no exception. I just waited a while. 

Jumping on an empty bandwagon is as much fun as drinking in an empty pub. We can take some comfort in the crowd of course.

It’s statistically extremely unlikely that a country’s spooks would spy on you through your telly. Not because they are decent and have your interests at heart. 

It’s just that listening to everyone is not much more effective than listening to no one.

It takes a lot of ears to process all that information and while doing so, they might miss something important. 

There’s no point in employing someone to watch footage of you scratching yourself on the couch and casually raising one buttock before expelling something gaseous that might possible be blamed on the dog, if it doesn’t leave time to keep an eye on a fella who’s recently been purchasing a suspicious amount of enriched uranium in Lidl.

But the cat’s out of the bag now. Now that skinnymalink smart TVs have software on them, as opposed to a photo of your first grandchild, you need to watch out.

The alleged CIA hack of a Samsung Smart TV had to be loaded on using a USB key. 

For those who are not familiar, the USB is the small mortise and tenon-joint-shaped fitting used for charging phones and other yokes. By the time you’ve got used to it, they’ll have changed it again.

There’s a USB point on the backs of most tellies, so if you remember nothing else from this column, remember that you can charge your phone in the hotel room if you forgot the plug bit.

As can your neighbour. If they call around for tea and then ask to charge their phone off your telly, chances are they are attempting to load a hack onto it.

They can then watch you and hear the truth about how much the house you got from the aunt went for.

It mightn’t be neighbours. It might be “cyburglar”’.

If you’ve had a break-in and they haven’t taken the telly, then they have taken the telly.

Therefore you need to pre-hack your own TV to record anyone who might be planting a bug on it, by loading something into the USB port on it.

But while you’re doing that, someone has probably hacked your phone and is watching you through that. 

So they’ll target the smart baby monitor instead.

Maybe don’t lobby the TD for rural broadband just yet.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Yes we need innovation but we need to mend the stuff we have already too


Breaking Stories

Latest: Citizens Assembly makes historic call to legisltate for abortion 'without restriction as to reasons'

Illegal fires across north Kerry and west Cork destroy forestry and nesting areas

Man airlifted to hospital after three injured in Clare crash

Latest: Bomb left at school gates was 'attempt to murder police'

Lifestyle

What to watch this week

Valberg is a hidden gem with skiing for all the family

Restaurant review: Cirillo’s, 140 Baggot Street, Dublin 2

Take a stroll through Ireland's heritage gardens

More From The Irish Examiner