Hacking your Smart TV…

Last summer, at Blackhat 2013, a Korean researcher presented the vulnerabilities of increasingly popular ‘Smart TVs’ (>80million units sold in 2012). His slides can be found here.

The following aspects are particularly worth mentioning from a privacy law perspective:

  • Attractive target for hackers:
    • Low security
    • Always powered/connected
    • Camera + microphone much more attractive than smartphone (which is often on a desk, put away and moves around a lot)
    • Centrally located in household
    • Often many other antennas inside (Bluetooth, WiFi, etc.)
    • Presence of an App Store makes it easy to disseminate malware
    • Many different points for attack: physical, USB/other ports, remote control, broadcast signals, etc.
  • Issues:
    • TV is a Black Box
    • OS is very big
    • Very vulnerable for attacks via apps such as social networks
  • What can be done:
    • Hijacking TV programs
    • Key-Logging
    • Capturing TV screenshots
    • Sniffing network traffic
    • Stealing (financial) information
    • capturing camera/mic feeds
    • All of this can be done in good quality and 24/7 (researcher demonstrated that monitoring was still possible after user ‘turns off’ TV)

Yet another clear example of the need for creators of technology to take seriously the principles of Privacy by Design, Data Security and Data Minimisation… .

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