Nearly 90% of All Smart TVs can be Hacked Remotely Without Much Effort

The Internet of Things industry goes well beyond phones, tablets, and security cameras. Smart TVs are a very big part of the IoT ecosystem right now, yet they are even more prone to attacks compared to other devices. In fact, it appears close to 90% of all smart TVs can be hacked remotely, which is not something that should be ignored by any means.

Vulnerable Smart TVs Have Engineers Concerned

Most people buy a smart TV to enhance their content consumption experience. When there is nothing worthwhile on the broadcast channels, integrated applications such as Netflix, Hulu, and MLB.tv can provide a more than viable alternative. The one downside to smart TVs is how they are often connected to the internet at all times, and there are next to no security settings users can access.

Rest assured cybercriminals have taken notice of the popularity of smart TVs. It is equally possible the smart TV in your home is remotely controlled by a hacker already. The reason for this is simple: smart TV manufacturers store and transmit personal user data over the Internet, yet fail to encrypt said information. This creates a treasure trove of information for criminals to exploit in the hopes of monetary gains coming their way.

This problem is only compounded by the weak – or missing – security settings to ensure all data collected is properly encrypted in the first place. Hackers are not the only parties interested in this information, though, as intelligence agencies may look to spy upon consumers as well. Samsung smart TVs have been subject to a major exploit already, although it requires physical access to the device. However, most devices can be remotely controlled through a rogue DVB-T signal.

Such an attack is facilitated by the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV standard, which is used by both set top manufacturers and cable companies. It only requires US$75 worth of DVB-T transmitter equipment to broadcast such a rogue signal and remotely control smart TVs in the area. After all, TVs have the tendency to connect to stronger signals, which means a local rogue DVB-T attack has a very high chance of succeeding.

So far, two exploits have been developed which will compromise smart TVs through the built-in browser. Once such a device is controlled by an unknown entity, it becomes a trivial matter to execute DDoS attacks, spy on consumers, and even spy on data streams being transmitted over an unencrypted protocol. For most people, such an attack would go by unnoticed as well, as it does not interfere with regular viewing habits by any means.

The only plausible course of action is for manufacturers to deploy proper firmware updates which ensure the encryption of all data. Until that happens, it will be possible for criminals to remotely hijack smart TVs in a manner that is virtually impossible to trace back to its origin. Another nail in the coffin of Internet of Things security, that much is certain.

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