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Zero Day Hole In Samsung Smart TVs Could Have TV Watching You

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the put-some-pants-on-man dept.

Google 249

chicksdaddy writes with news of a remote exploit in Samsung Smart TVs, and a warning for those who got one with a built-in camera. From the article: "The company that made headlines in October for publicizing zero day holes in SCADA products now says it has uncovered a remotely exploitable security hole in Samsung Smart TVs. If left unpatched, the vulnerability could allow hackers to make off with owners' social media credentials and even to spy on those watching the TV using built-in video cameras and microphones. In an e-mail exchange with Security Ledger, the Malta-based firm said that the previously unknown ('zero day') hole affects Samsung Smart TVs running the latest version of the company's Linux-based firmware. It could give an attacker the ability to access any file available on the remote device, as well as external devices (such as USB drives) connected to the TV. And, in a Orwellian twist, the hole could be used to access cameras and microphones attached to the Smart TVs, giving remote attacker the ability to spy on those viewing a compromised set."

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249 comments

In before Soviet Russia jokes (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42261811)

Unfortunately for people trying to make a "TV watches YOU!" joke, the firm disclosing this vulnerability is based in Malta, not ex-Soviet Russia.

Re:In before Soviet Russia jokes (2)

NateTG (93930) | about a year ago | (#42261865)

And 1984 was 28 years ago.

Re:In before Soviet Russia jokes (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262869)

actually, that 1984 happens in 1984 is a common misconception.

1984 is the year winston writes in the first diary entry, but he isn't completely certain that that year is accurate.

"He sat back. A sense of complete helplessness had descended upon him. To begin with, he did not know with any certainty that this was 1984. It must be round about that date, since he was fairly sure that his age was thirty-nine, and he believed that he had been born in 1944 or 1945; but it was never possible nowadays to pin down any date within a year or two."

Re:In before Soviet Russia jokes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42263075)

Shut your fucking pie hole you pointless waste of life. No-one fucking cares.

The 1984 reference is purely symbolic. I bet you were one of those tossmonkeys who went around dropping "Actually... the millennium isn't until 1st Jan 2001" into conversations when no-one cared about that either.

This isn't a bug. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262233)

This particular TV was made in NORTH Korea.

In before the "I have nothing to hide" morons (1)

I Mean, What (2778851) | about a year ago | (#42262437)

The thing to worry about here is not being watched while you watch TV, it's having those who may want to rob your house know when you're not home by looking through your screen. They already know you have stuff worth stealing, after all you have a "Smart" TV. Feel pretty smart now, don't you?

Re:In before the "I have nothing to hide" morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262767)

The thing to worry about here is not being watched while you watch TV, it's having those who may want to rob your house know when you're not home by looking through your screen.

If I'm not at home, my TV is off, which should make it impossible to access even through an exploit. Note that the TV being off does not mean that I'm not at home, therefore from that information alone you cannot draw conclusions (well, if the TV is on, you can conclude that I'm there for sure, but that's not very useful if you want to rob me).

Re:In before the "I have nothing to hide" morons (1)

Calydor (739835) | about a year ago | (#42262881)

Standby != Off.

To be fair I haven't read the article and don't know the details of the exploit, but if the TV can be connected to remotely I wager it has some sort of 'Wake on activity' function as well.

Re:In before the "I have nothing to hide" morons (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about a year ago | (#42262915)

If someone wants to know if I'm home, they can peek through the curtains and determine if that's really me dancing in the living room, or if it's a cardboard cutout moving around on a toy train. Or maybe they can just notice that there are no cars and the lights haven't changed for a while.

Well, that's your problem... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42261813)

"...running the latest version of the company's Linux-based firmware"

Well, that's your problem right there...

Re:Well, that's your problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262155)

If your hardware is custom (and thereby the drivers) that doesn't make much of a difference really...

The end (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#42261819)

Well, that's the end of that pointless, stupid feature if they ever want to sell another TV again. If you want to watch TV, watch TV. If you want to web chat on skype and stuff, get a real computer. That actually was the solution the whole, Samsung's marketing department just didn't know it apparently.

Re:The end (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42261883)

A modern TV is just a big computer monitor.
Many people even have computers attached to them. For those less technically inclined I could see something like this being convenient. Why would I not want to use my nice big TV and sit in the comfort of the couch with my family while we skype with friends and relatives in other locations?

Re:The end (1)

Kenja (541830) | about a year ago | (#42261939)

A modern TV is just a big computer monitor.

With poor resolution and a crap computer permanently attached to it.

Re:The end (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42261985)

Most Computer monitors these days max out at 1920x1080 which is the same as my TV, TVs go up to 4k. I was not aware my custom HTPC was a crap computer. Is a Core 2 quad not enough, should I go get an i7?

Re:The end (2)

Kenja (541830) | about a year ago | (#42262023)

Most Computer monitors these days max out at 1920x1080

No, those are TVs rebranded as monitors.

Re:The end (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42262067)

Not, at all true. The panels I am speaking about are meant for use as computer monitor only.

Even if they were TV panels, they are the vast majority of computer monitors.

Re:The end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262577)

I love the first sentence which essentially say that Kenj is absolutely wrong.
Then the 2nd sentence which say that Kenja could possibly be correct.

/. , what else can I say...

CAPTCHA = expects; it's what you do, man!

Re:The end (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42262615)

He is wrong, the second sentence says even if he was correct it would not matter. It does not indicate he is correct only if he was, thus pointing out how wrong he was.

Anonymous Cowards who can't fucking read, what else can I say.

Re:The end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262267)

No, those are TVs rebranded as monitors.

Oddly, the cheapass LG Television/Monitor hybrid I use for my computer strikes me as a computer monitor adapted into a TV, reason being that the viewing angle is barely acceptable for a computer monitor if you're sitting looking straight at it, and absolute rubbish for a TV which you'd expect to be viewing at a greater range of angles. Fortunately, I hardly ever use it as a TV anyway.

Re:The end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262769)

Your custom HTPC isn't the computer being referred to. GP is referring to the onboard computer you don't notice inside the actual TV that handles things like, well, breaking down and having vulnerabilities.

Big ugly tower (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42262001)

Why would I not want to use my nice big TV and sit in the comfort of the couch with my family while we skype with friends and relatives in other locations?

You might want to use it, but most people aren't Slashdot-reading geeks. I'm told most people don't want a big ugly tower in the living room, a keyboard and mouse that you need to put on a TV tray to launch anything, and all the complexity of maintaining a PC.

Re:Big ugly tower (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42262045)

There is no visible tower in my living room. Nor keyboard and mouse, and surely no TV trays. I was not aware that running updates when it asks for it was complex.

Of course you could just buy those SmartTVs this article talks about if you are so inclined. Some of my relatives do that.

Re:Big ugly tower (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year ago | (#42262247)

I have a computer in an HTPC case in the entertainment center - looks just like the amplifier near it. I use a remote control for almost everything. Once in a while, I get out the mouse and keyboards for maintenance.

But everything - even launching and exiting emulators is done by remote control. Then the wireless controllers are used for playing the emulated games.

Re:Big ugly tower (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42262309)

Don't bother, tepples will just say "most people" would be confused by an amplifier or a remote with more than 4 buttons or some other silly thing.

If your solution is not suitable for a drooling moron he is will complain.

If you have a smartphone, doing without mouse and keyboard even for maintenance is easy.

Re:Big ugly tower (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about a year ago | (#42263071)

Just make it pretty. I'm planning a new gaming PC for the living room to intimidate the X360 and PS3, and it's going to have all sorts of LED lighting crap in it. It'll look like Christmas every day! Ah, the advantages of being an unloved misanthrope who lives alone! :-)

I'm an odd duck in that I feel KB and mouse are more *accurate*, but I find a dual analog controller more *fun*, so I can just go with my existing X360 controllers. There's menu programs for launching games. Maintaining is no worse than any other computing device. I rarely upgrade a completed rig.

Re:Not a real monitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262409)

They do not support native resolutions. My 720p really only shows 1220x680
 

Section "Screen"
                Identifier "Screen0"
                Device "Card0"
                Monitor "Monitor0"
# Option "FlatPanelProperties" "Scaling = Native"
                Option "MetaModes" "DFP-1: 1280x720@60 { ViewPortOut=1220x680+30+20, ViewPortIn=1280x720 }"
                SubSection "Display"
                                Viewport 0 0
                                Depth 24
                                Modes "1280x720@60"
                EndSubSection
EndSection

If I hook a computer to my tv, I can control what goes on that computer and manage updates. Not so with the "internet tv" firmware.

Re:Not a real monitor (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42262467)

So you bought a crappy TV/Monitor, what does that have to do with it?

But you have to manage updates, these things are for people that do not want to do that.

I also manage them myself, but many older folks refuse to learn about anything invented after the VHS.

Re:The end (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#42262523)

The main problem with 'smart' TVs is that you end up with a TV that(barring ghastly shoddiness) will last for several years; but the 'smart' part of it will be lucky to receive a firmware update or two, generally delivered by a team of crack programmers who previous job was providing horribly malformed DDC information...

If it's a discrete computer, or some dinky Roku stick or whatever, you can upgrade it when the streaming service of the month goes out of business, or the manufacturer loses interest in you.

Re:The end (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42262587)

I totally agree and that is why I do have an HTPC.

Some folks do not want to go through that little bit of work.

Re:The end (1)

rikkards (98006) | about a year ago | (#42262953)

It's not even the less technically inclined who want it. I would rather have a tv that can do this than a computer whirring away in my living room as it doesn't go with the decor.
I am running 9 fullblown computers of various OS in the house (4 in a VM Lab)

Re:The end (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42263121)

You could go silent and hide it or, since you already have 9 computers just get a nice long HDMI cable.

Re:The end (0, Troll)

Lawrence61 (868933) | about a year ago | (#42261947)

Thats good old SamDung for ya. If they aren't copying other products, they are just making insecure crap.

Re:The end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262119)

haven't you watched any movies? the tv's they use in the sparsely populated world after ww3 will be both phones and tv's...you wont even have to point a remote at them.

Re:The end (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about a year ago | (#42262251)

Just like they got rid of webcams built into computers when it was found those could be hacked. Oh, wait...

TV is dying, being replaced by computers (I'm including phones that are basically small computers)/the internet as the main source of entertainment. People want streaming, interactiveness, to not have to buy separate devices to do things that can easily be done on one device. (Instead, they want to keep buying the new version of that one device.) Very few people of the main electronics buying ages want to JUST watch TV anymore. It would be stupid of them to not continue to evolve their TVs into computers - they'll die right along with the former concept of TV if they do.

Re:The end (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year ago | (#42262571)

Thank you for making all decisions on how I should use a device that I buy for me. Of course when Apple does this it's bad.

Re:The end (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#42262583)

Well, that's the end of that pointless, stupid feature if they ever want to sell another TV again. If you want to watch TV, watch TV. If you want to web chat on skype and stuff, get a real computer. That actually was the solution the whole, Samsung's marketing department just didn't know it apparently.

Except well, computers are hard. This you can get your grandparents as a gift, then gather the family around the TV to say hello (rather than a cramped laptop where no one can fit their head entirely in the screen).

And really, it's just an evolution of the modern videoconferencing system - which already uses large screen displays so multiple people can chat together.

These TVs aren't for just face chatting between people, but for families to chat with each other, or for more well, dramatic chats between people.

People do stuff. They don't care how stuff is done. If they want to video chat with loved ones over the holidays, they'd prefer doing it from the sofa with the family gathered around the TV, rather than everyone crowding a room or a table where the PC is located

Re:The end (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#42262993)

These TVs aren't for just face chatting between people, but for families to chat with each other, or for more well, dramatic chats between people.

[ ... Imagining several families/people I know ... ]
Please don't say "porn"... please don't say "porn"...

Call me dumb but (1, Interesting)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#42261823)

Why in the name of god would any TV have a camera and/or a microphone?

Video Chat (4, Informative)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year ago | (#42261933)

Your laptop has a camera and microphone to enable skype calls. TVs have it for the same reason.

Re:Video Chat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262633)

My laptop doesn't. My TV doesn't.

I use VoIP for cheap or free calls though an actual telephone.

 

Re:Video Chat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262989)

Since when did "Skype" become synonymous with video? There are lots of other apps out there for this.

Sorry, pet peeve.

Re:Call me dumb but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42261993)

Voice command. Video conferencing. Music games. Any of the tons of other reasons that computers and video game systems have them.

Wasn't it obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42261869)

This was always going to happen, your TV is a computer now with a OS, so it inherits the security problems associated with the OS that's installed.

I'm just goign to laugh because the internet is becoming more insecure every-single-day.

Apple, take note (0)

MikeRT (947531) | about a year ago | (#42261915)

You have a significantly higher draw among women than Samsung does. You better make your forthcoming TV sets ultra secure if they go this route and have an update process that is ridiculously simple and effective. Otherwise God help you if this happens with your products.

Re:Apple, take note (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262009)

You have a significantly higher draw among women than Samsung does.

Those aren't women, just effeminate male Apple customers (which is most all of them).

the software is open source (-1, Troll)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42261929)

just patch it yourself

all the smart TV's i've seen, the smart part of the TV runs open source software

Re:the software is open source (4, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#42262271)

"It's open source, just patch it yourself."

If there ever was a sentence to describe the elitist attitude of open-source nerds, this is it.

Re:the software is open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42263009)

Really? Because normally that's what we're told is one of the selling points of going open source. I guess it depends on the day of the week... Nothing more than open source double talk.

Warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262501)

just patch it yourself

all the smart TV's i've seen, the smart part of the TV runs open source software

Wouldn't that violate the warranty?

And if they have some proprietary code in there that you don't know about and blow away with your patch?

Good luck when you send the TV in for warranty service and they tell you that you owe them a couple of hundred dollars because, since you modified it, this isn't a fix under warranty.

Re:the software is open source (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42262535)

just patch it yourself

all the smart TV's i've seen, the smart part of the TV runs open source software

All the cars I've seen, the car parts are "open source."

Just repair it yourself.


See the logical flaw in your reasoning yet?

Very little details (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42261965)

The article has very few details on the exploit, my biggest question would be whether or not they can get access to the TV behind a standard router/firewall NAT configuration. If not, the concern is much less...

Re:Very little details (2)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#42262065)

Via a botnet through the pwned Windows computer also in the house?

Re:Very little details (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#42262263)

No Windows or Macs in my house, and wireless is on its own separate net. The internet goes through a Sonicwall. They're full of crap if they think they're going to get anything out of my TV without physically breaking into the house.

D'oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262031)

How the hell they gonna fix this? Can you download patches into your TV?

Re:D'oh! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262153)

Can you download patches into your TV?

Duh! Why would you think *can't* do this.

Internet connected TVs patch their own firmware routinely. My LG's done it at least six times this year.

Re:D'oh! (1)

fnj (64210) | about a year ago | (#42262279)

I doubt very much if Samsungs can download patches for the OS itself. They do routinely download new app versions.

Re:D'oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262351)

And the resolution they get on your prostate exams has never been better!

Re:D'oh! (5, Insightful)

Logger (9214) | about a year ago | (#42262187)

Black tape. Try finding a zero day hole in that biatch!

Re:D'oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262853)

Did you do a security check on your black tape? After all, a faulty production machine might have punched holes (literally!) into it.

Re:D'oh! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262219)

"More critically: there is no software update capability, meaning that the exploitable hole can’t be patched without “voiding the device’s warranty and using other exploits,” ReVuln said."

Re:D'oh! (1)

azalin (67640) | about a year ago | (#42262261)

How the hell they gonna fix this? Can you download patches into your TV?

Of course you can. Either directly (if connected to the network) or by copying the necessary files on an USB stick and plugging that into the tv.

This proves the evils of capitalism (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262093)

Samdung has intentionally put this "feature" into the idiot boxes commonly known as TVs. They want to track the sheeple to sell to advertisers so they can eventually receive a larger profit. Capitalism is all about maximizing profit at the expense of the weak. The solution to all of this is simple, communism. Since there is no profit involved in communism there is no motive for spyware to be added to anything.

Re:This proves the evils of capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262903)

The solution to all of this is simple, communism. Since there is no profit involved in communism there is no motive for spyware to be added to anything.

Wrong. There may be no incentive to add spyware for profit maximisation. However there will be incentive to add spyware for checking that you play by the rules. And it might well be illegal to disable that spyware.

If I cannot avoid spyware, I certainly prefer the profit-maximizing one.

I just came up with a patch (3, Funny)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#42262135)

this morning for the bug experienced by Samsung smart tv users.

it requires some [intertapepolymer.com] DiY work so if you are inexperienced, consider getting a friend to help. to my knowledge it does not void the warranty.

Re:I just came up with a patch (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year ago | (#42262273)

That only muffles the built-in microphone a little bit. Most of the sound still gets through. Or did I miss part of your plan?

Shit... they caught me fapping... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262145)

I had that feeling... you know... the one where someone was watching you? But I looked around and saw no one...

In the mail... a couple of days later...

Galactica (2)

Bongo (13261) | about a year ago | (#42262241)

Adama snarls "There will be no networked computers on this ship while I'm still in command" or words to that effect

New spin on old attack, nothing to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262317)

Rooting something you have physical access to is nothing new. USB flash, Firewire, device emulation, etc. are all OLD. The WTF here would be if this was exploitable over the air or from the catv side. That I'm waiting to be disclosed. How else do you think DRM will be updated?

Up next, Governments seize TV's during raids due to potential data store usage. {t0r,freenet,bitcoin,scary tech} software ported to run on TV's. EFF announces they are displeased but can't do fuck all. {privacy advocate group here} steps up, announces boycott, but can't do fuck all either. All of them want money to combat the problem. ..and people won't give a shit. But cause their Jersey Shore watching to stutter however due to your malware eating CPU, and they might, just might in an ironic twist, care. Or enable their tvcam (TM), looped back to their TV -- real life drama.

Another reason to own a dumb TV (4, Insightful)

big_e_1977 (2012512) | about a year ago | (#42262399)

Once next years model comes out, firmware updates slow down and eventually cease. Then your smart TV will no longer receive any bug fixes, security updates or enhancements. Compare that to an external device like a Roku that is typically supported for years at a time. When it becomes hopelessly obsolete, you swap the out the box for less than a hundred dollars and have the latest and greatest again. In the future and we will have the same situation as the rootable Samsung printers. Someone will discover a serious exploit that won't be patched because all those products are at EOL.

It was built this way, really... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262425)

Okay, so you have a tv that has a coax cable running into it (probably does same for hdmi),
the same cable going to your cable modem. You network is behind a firewall;
your tv, through the coax cable, is sitting out there in the wild, no firewall protection. This was
really provided as a back-door for advertisement so they can see what you're doing on the tv, and
on your internal network, if anyone's silly enough to plug a network cable into the back of a tv
without the benefit of a second firewall.

When I mentioned this to a security expert, I got the you are crazy look. I don't blame Samsung,
iApple, Windows 7 and 8 does things like this too. I'd suspect every tv has this feature, too.

Yes, the tv should be considered the same as the network port on the cable modem; an unprotected connection.
Soon, we'll see appliances that address this issue, but for now, consumer beware!

CAPTCHA = despised

Re:It was built this way, really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262763)

Don't worry, as long as you have the tinfoil hat on they still can't connect to the chip in your brain, so at least that's safe.

Am I the only one who prefers "dumb" TVs anymore? (5, Insightful)

macromorgan (2020426) | about a year ago | (#42262431)

Just give me a basic 42-50 inch monitor with speakers, a few HDMI ports and an ATSC tuner. If I want internet functionality, video conferencing or other features, I'll get my own add-on box. And when the software is no longer supported (what makes you think these TV manufacturers want to support this stuff for long), I can dump the box and get a newer one for much less than the cost of a brand new "smart" TV. To me, the only truly smart TV is one that divorces the advanced functionality from the TV.

Re:Am I the only one who prefers "dumb" TVs anymor (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42262623)

Just give me a basic 42-50 inch monitor with speakers, a few HDMI ports and an ATSC tuner.

This, this, this.

Hell, you can even keep the crappy speakers, I have surround sound.

Re:Am I the only one who prefers "dumb" TVs anymor (2)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about a year ago | (#42262759)

And you can keep the ATSC tuner, as well. I just want what amounts to a gigantic computer monitor.

Re:Am I the only one who prefers "dumb" TVs anymor (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#42262739)

Just give me a basic 42-50 inch monitor with speakers, a few HDMI ports and an ATSC tuner

Completely agreed. For the last 10 years or so, my 'TV' is basically functioning as a dumb monitor.

The speakers are permanently muted, and it's just displaying whatever my amplifier is telling it to. It doesn't change channels, it just displays an image as sent to it via a single HDMI cable.

It's not downloading from netflix, it's not getting me weather updates, and I'm not surfing the web with it. I simply don't see any value (for me) of having a TV with a network connection.

Re:Am I the only one who prefers "dumb" TVs anymor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262779)

No, you aren't. These TV vendors are packing as many features into these TVs without a care in the world to longetivity. All so they can add another sticker to the box saying that they support another proprietary service.

Re:Am I the only one who prefers "dumb" TVs anymor (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#42262929)

To this I would add: act as a pure computer monitor. When I hook up a computer to a TV via a DVI-to-HDMI cable and it looks like crap because of overscan [dreamwidth.org] I get all stabby.

But other than that, yeah, make it as dumb as possible. My parents' TVs lasted DECADES. I don't want to have to get a new one every five years because DivX/Zune Store/PlaysForSure*/Hulu/Netflix is gone.

* best. name. ever.

Re:Am I the only one who prefers "dumb" TVs anymor (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#42262973)

Skip the speakers and the tuner. I can put a tuner in my PC, and I can hook my HiFi up to my sound card with SPDIF. Hell, you can skip the HDMI and just use DVI for all I care.

Re:Am I the only one who prefers "dumb" TVs anymor (1)

sdnoob (917382) | about a year ago | (#42263125)

i miss the days when a TV was just a TV, and phones were just phones (and cars were just cars..... etc etc etc)

Re:Am I the only one who prefers "dumb" TVs anymor (2)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#42263129)

The problem is the remote. Setting up an add-on HTPC, adding a USB IR remote receiver, then programming a universal remote to operate both it and the TV (and your blu-ray player and cable box) is no problem for tech people like you and me. But the preceding sentence is utter gibberish to the vast majority of people. So a Smart TV which combines the TV with networked HTPC out of the box is attractive to those folks.

In a way, it makes sense. If you take apart a rear projection or LCD HDTV, you'll find it's basically a monitor with a computer inside which handles the video processing (the ones I took apart even used a DVI port to connect the two). So making a Smart TV isn't really adding on separate internet functionality, as it is beefing up the already-present computer to be able to handle it. In fact if they were to open it up so you could install and run a copy of XBMC on it instead of their custom Smart TV software, it'd probably be ideal.

Linux based firmware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262541)

I thought Linux was invulnerable and perfect.

'Smart' devices ... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#42262599)

I've always been leery about everything wanting to have internet access.

Partly because I don't see any benefit from the features of having my TV connect to the internet, and partly because I don't trust that vendors have any clue about security.

If you're going to run things like this, you should definitely have a firewall to keep the outside world at bay. The fact that Samsung has no fix for this tells me there's probably loads of devices like this which will prove to be insecure.

I've never even plugged my Blu Ray player into the network, and I'm getting close to the point of disconnecting my XBox from the network because I don't use any of the on-line features and the ads which have started showing up in games is annoying.

If you need an internet connection for me to play a game on a console ... well, I simply won't buy your product. And I didn't buy the box to be marketed to.

Not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42262611)

I did a CompSci project on controlling devices such as TVs via gestures using a webcam.

I remember I decided to include a whole 'ethics' chapter in the project writeup, and discussed in it the possibility that it could be used to spy on the users.

I didn't think far enough though... the device I'd envisaged was going to be a standalone device with no internet connection so I decided that the practically of doing it would be limited (you'd need to actually modify the hardware)... the Internet connection on smart TVs (not around when I did that project 7-8 years ago) means they are potentially going to become very vulnerable to this sort of thing. Not only is there a net connection that hackers might try to get in through, but they have installable apps now which may lead to malware in the future. I wonder how long before a virus comes out that you catch on your PC and then infects other devices on your LAN including TVs, as a mechanism of bypassing your firewall?

(I also discussed what psychological effect constantly having a camera pointing at you might have too. It seems I may have been a bit too paranoid there - we all seem to be perfectly happy spending the entire work day on a laptop with built in webcam, then sitting at home in front of a TV with yet another webcam in it, then relaxing by playing games on a console that also has a builtin webcam).

assumes no firewall? (1)

rst123 (2440064) | about a year ago | (#42262701)

I didn't RTFA (shocked?) but wouldn't this assume you put the tv on the open internet with no firewall, router etc.? If you don't use basic protection, you deserve what you get.

Hence it's behind a firewall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42263051)

The Samsung TV I have at home is behind a firewall and I've only got wired access to it (wireless *directly* to the TV is disabled -- any wireless has to go through the router/access point and is filtered there). I figured it was only a matter of time before vulnerabilities were found in a "smart" TV like this one. I'm a little surprised it was almost a year since I bought it and such vulnerabilities hadn't been found yet. Well, not publicized, anyway.

I call this FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42263123)

Take this:
"The company, which offers information on security holes it discovers only to subscribers, declined to provide any details about what type of vulnerability they discovered, how they discovered it"

Paired with this:
"ReVuln’s policy of disclosing security holes only to paying customers has met with disapproval from both vendors and security pros, who argue that companies should do what they can to eradicate dangerous software holes. However, the company is unbowed, maintaining that selling knowledge of software security holes is a legitimate business and helps the company recoup the costs of researcher the holes and developing proof of concept exploits for them."

And paired with them releasing a sensationalist piece saying your TV could be hacked Orwellian style...this looks like nothing more than a security firm extorting money out of Samsung to plug the bad press. How can a customer (or Samsung) assess how severe this risk is? For all I know, their "hole" requires you to have local network access to the TV, something a hacker wouldn't have thanks to a basic $20 home router firewall.

Next article, please.

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