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With intelligence also comes vulnerability - Samsung SMART TVs left a gaping hole in security allowing hackers to turn on the TV's camera and spy

3791 Views 15 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  thejet95
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.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/01/technology/security/tv-hack/index.html
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lol. Gives a whole new meaning to "big brother is watching". :)

I see sales of those black electric tapes skyrocketing!

I also seriously doubt any of the TV manufactuers thought of making their systems hack resistant and even if there was something that the user had to setup, I doubt it will happen since the average Joe consumer is not technical and will not know how to prevent hacks.. This should be interesting..
I bet if you installed a security program that makes people have to swipe their credit card to watch, it would put a stop to this kind of snooping. Or maybe not!!!
I am reminded of those old SNL skits where the couple is in bed watching tv and the SNL guys are on the tv doing their bit and then they start watching the couple.. lol..

The signs of the time I guess. lol :)
Scary stuff with everything that is now connected in our homes and lives for that fact.
We are all watched indirectly in one way or another. From street cams to ip tracking to social networking status reports, everything about us is open for whoever wants to see. The sign of the times!
No Microphone, no webcams and no living ones life online seems to be the only solution.
I can see why someone may want to go offline (off the grid as they say) but man, that is like living in the stone ages compared to what we have now in terms of comfort and ease. .lol.

I guess with any improvement, there is always going to be some side affect. :)
Glad I leave my camera closed. Someone might see me checking out HTS on my phone.
Glad I leave my camera closed. Someone might see me checking out HTS on my phone.
I'd hate for anyone to know I pick my nose while I watch TV :whistling:

I don't have any need for a camera on my TV but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they all have one.
I don't have any need for a camera on my TV but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they all have one.
lol. It will be a mandate by the FCC.. After all, it is for our safety! lol.

In fact, later as you move around the tv, the tv follows you so that you don't miss anything!
until I want to use it my cam and mike stay off and I’ll never buy a TV with a cam unless the day comes that all TV’s have them then I’ll get a projector instead .
Wow, that is some scary stuff. Eventually camera will be a standard "feature" I am sure but even then, I would keep the camera off or have some black electronic tape over the camera! lol.. Same with the Kinet and/or any other camera type device.
I used to think my Mom was crazy when she said to unplug the Tv, because "someone can probably watch you". Never thought she could be right!
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