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Hackers Could Crack Millions of Samsung and Roku Smart TVs

CyberWisdom Safe Harbor Commentary on Samsung and Roku Smart TVs

This story from fortune.com finds out millions of so-called smart TVs have exploits that hackers can exploit.

It is based on consumer reports, which released some of the security censorship results for some smart TVs Wednesday, the name of the internet connected TV set. Among them are models sold by Samsung and Chinese TV maker TCL, which use specific features of Roku, a streaming media device company.

Although hackers can not steal sensitive data such as credit card numbers through security breaches, they can use it to manipulate people’s TVs, play offensive videos, install unwanted apps, or scroll through channels suddenly.

Consumers report: “The process is rough, like someone with a closed-eye remote control.” But for a television viewer who does not know what happened, it can be creepy, like a hacker lurk nearby or peek at you through this set.

The Consumer Report study highlights the growing popularity of network-connected TVs and makes it easy to watch streaming video services such as Netflix on television. But connecting online makes these TVs vulnerable to hacking if they have exploits that hackers can exploit.

According to technology news site Ars Technica, in 2012, for example, security researchers said they could crack and gain control of certain Samsung smart TVs.

Consumer Reports tested a TCL smart TV with a Roku streaming software release that contains a security hole. The publication said other TV makers using Roku software include Hisense, Hitachi, Insignia, Philips, RCA, and Sharp, all of which may be affected except for some Roku streaming media devices.

Samsung and Roku Smart TVs

Roku’s streaming video software includes a so-called application programming interface or API that third-party developers can use to build their own smartphone applications like TV remote controls. However, hackers may use this API, which consumers report as “unsafe.”

To be hacked, users must use a smartphone or a personal computer on the same Wi-Fi network to which the smart TV is connected, then visit a malicious Web site or download an application containing software code to allow hackers to take over the report.

However, Roku argues against the Consumer Reports assertion in a blog post that it proposes “a misrepresentation of functionality.”

Roku said: “With this API, our customer account or Roku platform has no security risks and customers can turn off this particular remote control feature.

When asked about a similar mistake that was not found on Samsung smart TVs using Roku software, a Samsung spokesman told consumers that it is investigating the issue and will release a software update this year that will probably address other Related errors.

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Millions of so-called smart TVs have security vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit. That’s according to Consumer Reports, which released results on Wednesday of a security review of certain smart TVs, the name given to Internet-connected televisions. They included models sold by Samsung as well as Chinese-TV maker TCL that use a particular feature by the streaming media device company Roku. Although hackers are unable to steal sensitive data like credit card numbers through the security holes, they could use it to manipulate people’s televisions and play offensive videos, install unwanted apps, or suddenly scroll through channels. “The process was crude, like someone using a remote control with their eyes closed,” Consumer Reports said. “But to a television viewer who didn’t know what was happening, it might feel creepy, as though an intruder were lurking nearby or spying on you through the set.” The Consumer Reports study highlights the growing popularity of web-connected televisions that make it easy for people to watch streaming video services like Netflix on their TVs. But being connected online puts these televisions at risk of potential hacking if they have bugs that hackers can exploit. Engaging post, Read More…

thumbnail courtesy of fortune.com

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