It may appear to a layman that smart TV is not having any sensitive confidential Personal Identifiable Information (PII) data unlike tax returns, bank account credentials or other data about any person on the TV! In a recent lawsuit, it came to notice that a large Smart TV manufacturer, has been accused of sharing TV owners' personal information with third parties without the owners' permission. The manufacturer is selling usage information to third parties (like on-line advertising companies that specialize in targeted ad networks) including information about what you watch on TV, when you watch it and your IP address! Advertisers can learn what you're interested in and with that IP address, they can specifically target ads for you when you surf the web. The manufacturer's Smart TV even scans the home computer networks for other information. including the make, model, serial number, and software and hardware IDs of other devices connected to the same network as the TV. Wow! With all of this capability running on Smart TV, it's no wonder the hackers are after TV now too !!
Smart TV is basically just a linux box, with network capabilities on home network. Several Smart TV manufacturers are using the Android Operating System to control their device. So, once a vulnerability is found, there are many potential victims. A seemingly useful application is being used by malicious actors to trick people into installing it on their Smart TV. If they have an exclusive Daemon running on the Linux system - one can make it take a screen shot of programs, use the same Wifi to reverse travel to all other gadgets connected to WiFi internet, identify customer behavior, access the photos/videos in the phones, tabloids, make your refrigerator order a gun and four bullets to build a case for police to arrest !! We need to think like a Bruce Willis to know the risks !!
The bottom line is that the Smart TV manufacturers (and all IoT manufacturers) should be taking security more seriously. As consumers, we should be demanding it.
Authored by Hussain Ali Ladha
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