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Tips show how to protect yourself from spying secrets Wikileaks revealed

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DENVER -- The biggest release of CIA spying secrets onto the WikiLeaks website has many wondering if it could put smartphones or internet-connected TVs at risk.

A computer science expert from Metropolitan State University of Denver says the short answer is probably not.

Smartphones are essentially little computers as are many TVs. If they're connected to the internet, that is where much of the potential digital danger comes from.

A leak of more than 8,000 CIA documents show TVs can also spy on you.

"Your TV, your phone, they are both computers. These days, everything you can do with a computer, you can do with those devices, so they are equally vulnerable," said MSU computer science professor Steve Beaty.

He said the trove of secret information shows intelligence agencies can listen and record conversations through certain Samsung TVs -- even when they're turned off.

But he said it's not something people should worry about.

"One must have physical access in order to install the malware. You have to get in a person's house and plug in a USB drive," he said.

He said you can also disconnect your TV from the internet. The documents also show the  CIA can break into iPhones and Androids.

The most important way to protect yourself is to update all your devices. On a smartphone, go to settings, then general, then software update. You can also do the same thing with your TV and computers.

Beaty also said update passwords regularly, using long, sophisticated passwords. And be careful when clicking on email links or downloading corrupted apps that can infect your devices.

"When it's infected, then they have the capability of doing almost anything to your device, listening, watching your texts, what you type," Beaty said.

But he says all in all, the confidential information won't hurt Americans. The documents don't show how to carry out these cyberattacks.

And he thinks it’s actually good the CIA has these capabilities against foreign enemies.

"Spying on nation-states and ISIS is what we want to happen. These are effective methods to do it," he said.

But Beaty said if your sense of privacy still feels infringed upon, you can always go back to the Stone Age -- pull out a flip phone and get a dumb TV.

He said the bigger concern is the leak occurred at all, one of several recently.