Smart TV’s infected with severe security holes

17:16 22 November in Latest Threats
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Samsung-Smart-sysflashIt’s a rumoured fact that “smart TVs” are weak about security, but a German researcher has illustrated that the stupidity goes so far as to enable remote snooping or even a takeover of the in-set computer.

Nruns scientist Martin Herfurt has taken effort begun at the Darmstadt University of Technology to demonstrate a series of remote attacks on Samsung Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TVs – HbbTVs – that include WiFi eavesdropping, fake analytics, content redirection, fake news tickers, Bitcoin mining and more.

Herfurt’s post describing the attacks, here, credits TU Darmstadt for demonstrating that MAC addresses and packet lengths sniffed from the TV’s WiFi stream allow an eavesdropper to snoop someone’s viewing habits.

More interesting, but, is the number of behaviors an attacker could redirect the viewing of a victim, since the smart TVs use an embedded Web browser – in the case of Samsung, with Javascript support and WebKit 1.1 compatibility – which among other things render HTML embedded in DVB streams. This, Herfurt cites, makes it trivial for an hacker to infuse their own URLs into the stream, or use DNS attacks to redirect the TVs to their own content. He also noted that none of the broadcasters using HbbTV capabilities are doing so over SSL, allowing content spoofing. All of these attacks recommend other, even more wicked, possibilities: “Once attackers managed to redirect the HTTP requests of the TV to controlled sources, many different HTML-/Javascript-based attacks become likely,” he comments.

And yes, those attacks contain Bitcoin mining – although We presumes you’d need a lot of televisions to get anywhere – because one of Herfurt’s researchers, Matthias Zeitler, demonstrated dropping the Javascript-based BitcoinPlus onto an infected TV. Lastly, Herfurt notes, the occurrence of the Javascript XmlHttpRequest object in the TVs provides a vector for a series of attacks on the LAN the device is attached to. He advises that TV manufacturers do more work to make the browsers safe and configurable by users.


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