Just like smartphones arrived in most markets and obliterated regular feature phones, smart TV’s are expected to change the way we interact with our television sets. A smart TV, or hybrid TV, comes integrated with several web 2.0 applications and widgets that allow users to access the Internet and obtain content from several sources.
However useful this may be, this opens up a brand new attack surface for hackers to exploit. This video showcases how a Samsung LED 3D TV was hacked into and compromised by researchers. They subsequently accessed TV settings, channel lists, device ID, firmware, widgets, history and attached USB drives.
The prospects of this are scary since the hacker gets a direct entry point into our home and into a device that we never thought would face such threats. Moreover, the popularity of smart TV’s is only going to increase over time and this exposes plenty of people to such attacks in the future.
Potential threats faced by smart TV sets
At first, one doesn’t realize the implications of such a security breach. But an experienced hacker could gain root access into a smart TV, breach the local network that the TV is connected to and cause utter mayhem as a result. Here are the potential risks of a hacked smart TV.
Other considerations to keep in mind
Not many people regularly update the firmware on their smartphones, so it seems less likely that they will regularly update their smart TV sets. This would leave smart TV’s open to malicious attacks. OEM’s (original equipment manufacturers) also freely give out their SDK (software development kit) so attackers can easily get their hands on these and tailor malicious software accordingly.
However, the downside for attackers is that they will need access to the local network that the TV is connected to. This differs from the regular viruses and worms that reach victims through the Internet. A hacker will also need network details and the IP address for the TV set. This can be prevented with a secure network or router and with the help of strong passwords. Moreover, switching the power off when the TV is not in use is highly recommended.
Technology used in smart TV sets is still in its nascent stages but the potential for hack attacks is present. We advise readers to remain vigilant and stay aware of developments and security tips related to smart TV sets and related system protection software. Internet access always invites hackers in large numbers and while such attacks are not common today, it will not be long before such exploits become more common.