Your Smart TV Can Be Hacked With Fake Freeview Signals

By Holly Brockwell on at

A security researcher in Zürich has created a smart TV hack that can be executed remotely, and about 90% of current models are susceptible to it.

Rafael Scheel works for ethical hacking company OneConsult, and was looking into smart TV hacking. Bleeping Computer reports that he found a range of hacks, but they all required physical access to the TV. Convinced it could be done remotely, he got to work, and now we know how someone could root our TVs from afar without our knowledge. Super!

The attack runs in the background, so you won't notice it happening. The signal is sent using HBBTV over DVB-T, the latter being the broadcasting tech used for Freeview. It tells the TV to load a webpage in the browser in the background, in this case Scheel's own website, where he'd hosted malicious code that gains root access to the TV.

Even worse: a factory reset of the TV didn't remove his access to it.

Exploits like this could be used for all sorts of nefarious purposes: displaying nasty content on the TV, injecting ads, or spying on the TV's environment via the mic and camera. It's pretty serious.

On the bright side, at least this was discovered and demonstrated by someone with good intentions – which means it'll hopefully be fixed before anyone nasty tries it. But now that the method is out there, it'll be a race between the TV manufacturers and the hackers, and as ever, the only loser is us. [Bleeping Computer]