Did your Samsung Smart TV just switch channel?
Don’t blame the dog for stepping on the remote control – there’s a remote possibility it could be hackers who’ve hijacked your smart TV.
Researchers with Malta-based security consultancy and bug seller ReVuln have found a vulnerability in an unspecified model of a Samsung LED 3D TV that they exploited to get root access to the TV and any attached USB drives.
In a video titled “The TV is Watching You”, ReVuln shows a Samsung TV screen with which the researchers systematically fiddle.
Here’s what the researchers found they could access:
- TV settings and channel lists
- SecureStorage accounts
- Widgets and their configurations
- History of USB movies
- Whole partitions
- USB drives attached to the TV
By exploiting the vulnerability, ReVuln also found that they could retrieve the drive image, mount it locally, and check for sensitive documents or material that should remain private, such as usernames, passwords, financial documents, or any other type of material typically kept on USB drives.
If the victim uses a remote controller, ReVuln also found that they could get its configuration and thereby control the TV remotely.
ReVuln also found they could install malware remotely to gain complete root access to the TV, co-founder Luigi Auriemma told IDG News Service:
"If the attacker has full control of the TV...then he can do everything like stealing accounts to the worst scenario of using the integrated webcam and microphone to 'watch' the victim."
The vulnerability extends beyond one specific model tested in the firm’s lab, he said:
"The vulnerability affects multiple models and generations of the devices produced by this vendor, so not just a specific model as tested in our lab at ReVuln."
ReVuln is a recent entrant into the market for buying and selling bug and vulnerability information and mostly focuses on vulnerabilities in SCADA and ICS software that run utilities, industrial systems and the like.
Auriemma has played around with TVs before. In April, he stumbled on a vulnerability in all current versions of Samsung TVs and Blu-Ray systems that would allow an attacker to gain remote access.
At the time, he said that the vulnerabilities could be found in all Samsung devices with support for remote controllers.
One hopes that the researchers have acted responsibly and informed Samsung of the vulnerabilities in their consumer devices, and that an over-the-internet firmware update to plug the security holes will be forthcoming.
9 comments on “Samsung Smart TV security hole allows hackers to watch you, change channels or plug in malware”
It took a few decades longer than George Orwell expected, but I suppose one more prediction from 1984 is on its way.
I am guessing this is only valid if the T.V. is connected via the home network?
How do you find out if my TV camera has been compromised
Does it matter?
What model TV’s are affected?
Do you know if it only affects TVs directly exposed to the Internet? I doubt it would be an issue if the TV were behind a firewall (unless a PC in that network got infected and was being remotely controlled.)
Doesn’t matter if you are behind a firewall. As long as your TV is connected to the internet. There are lots of ways for it to do so, ie through your home internet, hack into a neighbours wifi, use your mobile hot spot, or a bit “conspiracy theory” but your TV could come with a sim (internet connection) built in (this doesn’t mean a plastic thing you put in your phone but something hidden in the components, but ha who would do that
If car computers are hackable by just playing a corrupted CD on the sound system, I’m guessing TVs can be hacked by playing a movie… I have a friend who actually opened his Samsung TV and soldered a wire over the two connections of the microphone, this disabling it. I made sure I order one which does not have voice control, so no mic to start with. No cam either.
doesn’t matter if you’re disconnected to the internet or Bluetooth , my Smart TV from Samsung. freaked me out on night, I was sitting there playing a game on my computer and my TV wasnt connected to internet or bluetooth, and all of a sudden I saw something about someone’s phone wants permission to access my TV. I asked my son if he was trying to get permission and he said no. so it looks like anyone could access the samsung TV as long as they have a samsung phone.
I think the samsung TV pings it signal out to whomever and no matter what settings you turn on or turn off it still sending info for anyone out there