Smart TV hacked over the air – no internet connection required

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Manufacturers of smart technology are quickly learning that hackers will exploit any gap they’re given.

For the most part these gaps are present in the internet facing side of the technology but a security consultant has discovered a way to send a malicious signal to a smart TV and compromise it.

The exploit uses the digital video broadcasting – terrestrial transmission standard built into TVs to gain access. TVs that are currently tuned to a DVB-T station reportedly contain a bug that can be exploited without a user even knowing their TV has been compromised.

The proof-of-concept hack was developed by Rafael Scheel for Oneconsult a security firm based in Switzerland. Using a low cost transmitter Scheel was able to take control of smart TVs and what’s more is that the hack persisted through reboots and factory resets.

“Among many others, the TV could be used to attack further devices in the home network or to spy on the user with the TV’s camera and microphone,” Scheel told Ars Technica.

While hacking is a problem in and of itself, this hack is particularly worrying for a number of reasons.

One of these reasons is that being able to transmit a malicious signal to any TV listening gives an attacker much greater scope for an attack and at the moment that could prove troublesome for less tech-savvy smart TV owners.

[Image – CC BY ND 2.0 Daniel_Bauer]


Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.