A hacker can be in Paris, France on a laptop in a coffee shop watching you watch TV while you are cozy in the comfort of your bed. How would you know?
SMART TVs are connected devices, meaning they are connected to the Internet. Being on the Internet, a device is susceptible to hacking, unless the proper security is in place. Scratch that, a lot of times, even with security in place, there is always someone smarter. So, loophole or not, some hackers can gain access.
Have you ever considered that a hacker can turn on the microphone and web cam of your computer without you being aware? Perhaps without the on-light indicator being activated and without any software launching at the same time? It's all just digital commands and signals after all.
Well apparently, until the patch was released, select Samsung SMART TVs were vulnerable to this very same thing. Those TVs with cameras could have become a spying tool for online hackers. Sobering thought.
More than spying on you and your family while watching TV, a hacker could have rerouted you to malicious web sites (providing you surf the Web or use apps from your TV) allowing him or her to steal sensitive information like financial data or passwords.
"Samsung quickly fixed the problem after security researchers at iSEC Partners informed the company about the bugs. Samsung sent a software update to all affected TVs."
Many devices are becoming "connected" devices. Not just TVs. Security cameras are a common one. Then you have home lighting systems, heating control systems, and even doors and windows can be controlled remotely, but is the driving software secure?
iSEC researchers have discovered that they were able to very easily tap into the web browser on Samsung SMART TVs. With web browser access, all functions controlled by the browser, including the in-built web camera become accessible to the hacker spy. This also makes it simple to redirect users to web sites that mimic banking sites for example, providing an easy way for a hacker to gain access to the user's credentials.
"The research was conducted on different models of 2012 Samsung Smart TVs and was presented this week at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas."
To maintain a secure environment on the Samsung TVs, it is recommended to cover the camera when not in use, unplug from the network when not in use, and use encrypted wireless signals to keep the neighbors from snooping.
Whether the recent patches made by Samsung are hacker-proof will soon be determined.
"The iSEC crew said they remain skeptical that the technology is perfectly secure, even after Samsung patched the bugs."
It's best to keep up with all firmware updates for connected devices as they become available.
After writing this, for "music" and "TV" I sort of miss the simple scenario of:
a) sliding a record on the ol' Victrola
b) popping popcorn and having a family movie night around the big tube TV with the top loading VCR
Streaming and "connected" benefits have to come with security concerns. I'm afraid that is inevitable.