There’s no debate: one of the hottest gadgets on the market today are Smart TVs. They have undoubtedly changed the way many of us watch television. At the end of a long day, how nice is it to have a tv that knows exactly what show you want to binge watch? As nice as that seems, your tv may also be letting hackers know just about everything about you.
Discovering the Hack on Smart Tvs
This latest attack uses radio signals to take over multiple Smart TVs without having physical access to them. Security consultant Rafael Scheel developed the hack using a cheap transmitter to embed malicious commands into a rogue TV signal. When that signal is broadcasted to devices within its vicinity, the signal gave Scheel complete control of the devices. This included use of the camera and microphone. No reboots or factory resets were able to rid the TVs of the infection.
The key to this attack is to exploit two security flaws in web browsers that run in the background of the TVs. Think you’re home free because your TV isn’t a Samsung? Think again. Other sets have similar vulnerabilities. If the attack was engineered to target other browser bugs, it would likely be just as effective.
“Once an attacker has control over the TV of an end user… the TV could be used to attack further devices in the home network or spy on the user’s,” stated Scheel. Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of Scheel’s demonstration was hackers not needing physical access to the devices.
What does this mean?
Rafael Scheel demonstrated his hack during a cyber security conference last month at the European Broadcasting Union in Le Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland.
This is nothing new. Smart TVs made headlines when Wikileaks documented efforts made by the CIA to use them as remote bugging devices. During his demonstration, Scheel also noted about 90 per cent of all Smart TVs sold can fall victim to similar attacks.