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posted by martyb on Monday June 09 2014, @01:38PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the how-do-you-put-a-tinfoil-hat-on-an-antenna? dept.

BBC News is reporting that Smart TVs subverted by radio attack. The attack uses the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) standard that is widely supported in smart television sets sold in Europe. The HbbTV system was designed to help broadcasters exploit the internet connection of a smart TV to add extra information to programmes or so advertisers can do a better job of targeting viewers. The story goes on to note:

The attack exploits loopholes in widely used technology that helps smart TVs receive tailored adverts. Once hijacked, the TVs could be made to send messages on behalf of attackers, find other vulnerable devices in a home or launch other attacks across the net. Detecting and stopping the attack would be difficult, said the researchers.

This could be used in a wide-spread attack to subvert hundreds or even thousands of Smart TVs at once. If a user had logged into Facebook on their TV, one could use this attack to make Facebook posts on the target's behalf.

Though not mentioned in the article, I would think one could use a very directional antenna and target a specific location or TV.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by AndyTheAbsurd on Monday June 09 2014, @01:47PM

    by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Monday June 09 2014, @01:47PM (#53216) Journal

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: The idea of a "smart TV" is dumb. A TV needs to have a good picture, the ability to display current channel number and closed captioning text, and maybe display program information such as the title of the current program (although that can generally be handled a cable box, or not at all in the case of hooking up an external device that runs Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime Video/whatever, since you'll always to get to pick the program that you're watching). I would rather pay $100 extra for a TV that has three more HDMI inputs than pay $1 extra for a "smart" TV that has "apps" that will probably be outdated by the time I get it set up.

    --
    Please note my username before responding. You may have been trolled.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by WillAdams on Monday June 09 2014, @02:04PM

      by WillAdams (1424) on Monday June 09 2014, @02:04PM (#53222)

      And please, a numerical display of the volume setting --- our Sanyo doesn't have this, and it really annoys me fiddling w/ the volume each time.

      • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Monday June 09 2014, @03:23PM

        by captain normal (2205) on Monday June 09 2014, @03:23PM (#53264)

        As long as we're wishing, how about a volume balancing control in the TV that would defeat the increased audio signal and so-called "presence" that drives up the volume by several db. Seems to me that a simple op-amp chip could accomplish this.

        --
        “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison
        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday June 09 2014, @04:16PM

          by sjames (2882) on Monday June 09 2014, @04:16PM (#53285) Journal

          That's actually a lot harder than it seems like it would be. Especially since commercials audio is engineered to defeat volume control. I got a TV with volume control in the early '90s that worked great for a year or so. Then more and more commercials found various ways to defeat it.

          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @04:31PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @04:31PM (#53287)

            I'd be happy with a button on the remote that mutes volume by 25db for 3 minutes at a time.

            • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday June 09 2014, @09:49PM

              by sjames (2882) on Monday June 09 2014, @09:49PM (#53414) Journal

              I haven't seen that, but my current TV has a half mute function, just not with a time out.

          • (Score: 4, Interesting) by edIII on Monday June 09 2014, @04:50PM

            by edIII (791) on Monday June 09 2014, @04:50PM (#53298)

            Then more and more commercials found various ways to defeat it.

            Yeah, apparently it took an act of Congress to get them to stop it.

            However, I found my "Final Solution" back in 2004. A ReplayTV. Worked excellent. No more commercials. I then upgraded it several years later by cutting the cord completely and relying on 100% piracy (I still paid for movies via Netflix/Blockbuster) to get my TV. They made an admirable attempt to continue their annoyance, but I finally achieved full genocide with the readily available WEB-DL captures that got rid of all of the overlay advertisements embedded in the content.

            I haven't seen the work product of any of those parasitic cockroaches for a few years now inside my own little domain. There was also a fortuitous alliance made with Netflix that allowed me to watch thousands of TV shows with no commercials either. I pay a small tribute, but it's worth it. Netflix kills commercials by the millions by lunch every single day.

            Quite frankly, I'm continually amazed by other's tolerance and letting "them" continue to live instead of their proper place beneath a boot ;)

            --
            Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Alfred on Monday June 09 2014, @02:14PM

      by Alfred (4006) on Monday June 09 2014, @02:14PM (#53225) Journal

      I intend to never have a smart TV. In combination with these kind of privacy concerns and if you even find something to watch it is still 1/3 commercials there is no point. A big, dumb computer screen is all I need. If I want to add smart capability I will get a Roku type or local steaming device or even *gasp* connect my computer to it. Dumb TV with a brain transplant is good.

      All that said I don't even have a TV right now. It is not needed. Any suggestions?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @02:54PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @02:54PM (#53246)

        I'm in the market for a large tv with no tuner. Any suggestions?

        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Tuesday June 10 2014, @07:06PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 10 2014, @07:06PM (#53885) Journal

          A TV with no tuner is known as "monitor".

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 2) by edIII on Monday June 09 2014, @05:00PM

        by edIII (791) on Monday June 09 2014, @05:00PM (#53301)

        Yeah, a SmartTV.

        I don't think you are going to find anything with decent specs that doesn't also have a SmartTV system embedded in it. Stay away from LG forever though, they got caught with something more egregious than the Sony Rootkit. THAT is quite a statement too. So LG should just be considered a dead company like Sony. They could make a blowjob machine that could teach tricks to porn stars and I wouldn't pay them $1 for it.

        Whatever they come up with, just use some epoxy and a small piece of matching plastic to block whatever cameras they have attached, and leave the Ethernet/Wireless disconnected from the network. If you actually want to use what is inside it to play your own media, you might use a VLAN and some firewall rules to prohibit outside access. I wouldn't recommend that considering how far LG was willing to go to violate your privacy for additional advertising revenue to their corporation. Consider whatever SmartTV you get a hostile piece of equipment and act accordingly.

        AFAIK, any thin large screen TV is SmartTV now. About the only thing we can accomplish is containment at this point.

        What you should really hope for is something akin to DD-WRT for SmartTVs. Do your own brain transplant direct into the TV without additional equipment.

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Monday June 09 2014, @02:16PM

      by isostatic (365) on Monday June 09 2014, @02:16PM (#53228) Journal

      Built in speakers, but ones you can completely turn off if you use an external amp. Dolby Digital output of what is on the screen (so cycling between HDMI4,5 and 6 correctly changes audio output). Ability to underscan the TV to show the full frame, and a field-rate output

      I would pay $100 extra to avoid the "smart tv" rubbish, but on the other hand I want more than just a monitor.

      • (Score: 1) by xorsyst on Monday June 09 2014, @02:29PM

        by xorsyst (1372) on Monday June 09 2014, @02:29PM (#53234)

        And a remote control for volume and input selection?

        • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Monday June 09 2014, @02:39PM

          by isostatic (365) on Monday June 09 2014, @02:39PM (#53239) Journal

          Perhaps. But then that's where it gets interesting, In years gone by a control din switch (GPI, 9 pin RS232, etc) would be good, but now that's where having an IP port to allow control from a proper system comes into it's own. But then you're going down the "hackable" route.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @02:40PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @02:40PM (#53240)

          Of course not. Jeezus.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday June 09 2014, @02:59PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 09 2014, @02:59PM (#53250)

        You can do it for $80 not $100 without trying very hard at Amazon.

        The OSD for input switching for my TV exists, but only has 3 inputs, sucks, is incredibly high latency (like 20-30 secs from TV power on to the OSD screen), and slow response when you switch. For $40 shipped free with prime you can get a switchbox that kicks butt with 5 inputs, nearly instant switch and nearly zero latency. Its about 100000x better than the cruddy built in switching interface on my TV. You'll also need a short HDMI cable which Best Buy would sell for $75 to $100 but amazon basics will sell for like $3.

        Next you wanted a little box with hdmi in and power in on one side, and hdmi out and optical spdif and RCA audio out on the other side. Again, $40 at amazon and free shipping with prime. I use my TV to extract my optical spdif and it works fine although I did search on amazon for this box and they do certainly exist. With a little edid switch to lie to the upstream about having 2ch or 5.1ch sound destination.

        Note that there's a lot or supply/demand pricing and perceived value pricing. So an engineer would assume a TV will be at least $200 more than a monitor due to system complexity and patents, but when you're marking prices up 500% anyway, "people won't pay as much for a TV as a monitor" so the TV might actually be cheaper than the monitor. Just don't get ripped off by purchasing a 720 tv instead of a 1080 monitor in the same size. I'll probably never be able to buy a high res 1600x1200 monitor again, but you used to be able to buy really high res monitors in the good old days. Not any more, which is too bad.

        • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Wednesday June 11 2014, @02:35AM

          by urza9814 (3954) on Wednesday June 11 2014, @02:35AM (#53997) Journal

          I'll probably never be able to buy a high res 1600x1200 monitor again, but you used to be able to buy really high res monitors in the good old days. Not any more, which is too bad.

          Yeah, ain't that a pain. 4K should be nice though, first step forward in resolution since the days of CRTs!

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @02:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @02:23PM (#53232)

      > I would rather pay $100 extra for a TV that has three more HDMI inputs than pay $1 extra for a "smart" TV that has "apps" that will probably be outdated by the time I get it set up.

      Every "smart tv" that I've seen has had some sort of advertising bundled in as part of some of the "apps." That probably means a net price reduction, so you reap that discount and if you never connect it to the internet you never have to suffer any of the downside.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by The Archon V2.0 on Monday June 09 2014, @04:00PM

      by The Archon V2.0 (3887) on Monday June 09 2014, @04:00PM (#53277)

      > The idea of a "smart TV" is dumb.

      Yes, but how else are they supposed to sell you something when you probably already own three of the things (including a CRT that will not die)? And they only secretly collect your personal information and sell it to advertisers because you're being mean and not upgrading your televisions every year! How else are the poor multinational corporations supposed to turn a multibillion dollar profit when meanies like you keep your old technology and your money?

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by WizardFusion on Monday June 09 2014, @01:58PM

    by WizardFusion (498) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 09 2014, @01:58PM (#53218) Journal

    Before I connected my TV to the network, I assigned it a static IP address and blocked it at the firewall.
    I wanted to see if it would stream movies from my NAS.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Monday June 09 2014, @02:45PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 09 2014, @02:45PM (#53242)

      "I wanted to see if it would stream movies from my NAS."

      Well, don't leave us in suspense... Did it? My guess is no.

      The biggest problem with smart TVs is they're TVs. So for wife acceptance factor its all about the stand and/or mounting and exterior case and bezel and how it'll match existing stuff in the room blah blah blah. If the "smart" part actually worked in R+D one time, thats good enough to ship because there's too many other variables in the selection of a TV. So if the "smart" doesn't work and 99.9% of buyers don't want it / won't use it anyway, that's all good it'll be shipped in a broken state, and that's pretty much what consumers have come to expect from experience, "smart" means broken and dumb.

      On the other hand I have a roku to stream amazon prime and it works great. The only reason to ever buy a roku is to do the "smart tv" stuff. So they make it bulletproof and reliable. So unlike a "smart tv" it actually matters if it works, and it works very well. My SIL's apple TV does exactly the same tasks and only costs twice as much, which for an apple product isn't all that bad.

      This effect is the root cause of all the "apple iTV" rumors, seeing as this kind of market is Exactly how mobile phones were before the iPhone. So if apple shipped a smart TV, it would probably be the first smart TV ever shipped that doesn't absolutely suck at being smart.

      • (Score: 2) by WizardFusion on Monday June 09 2014, @03:11PM

        by WizardFusion (498) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 09 2014, @03:11PM (#53256) Journal

        You're right, it didn't work. I currently use a WDTVLive box, very happy with it.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @04:35PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @04:35PM (#53292)

          Do you know a way to send a URL to the wdtv? Without custom wdtv firmware either. I just want to drag-and-drop a URL from firefox on my linux system and have the wdtv start streaming it (music or video).

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Kunasou on Monday June 09 2014, @03:06PM

    by Kunasou (4148) on Monday June 09 2014, @03:06PM (#53254)

    Instead, it has its own apps, and some of them don't work or their supposed job is handled badly... It has problems playing mkv or H264 10-bit too.
    SmartTVs are very useless, and some of them never get updated after a few months, some others spy on you https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131119/06503625288/lg-smart-tv-caught-collecting-data-files-stored-connected-usb-drives.shtml [techdirt.com] (LG)...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10 2014, @05:45AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10 2014, @05:45AM (#53610)

      > It has problems playing mkv or H264 10-bit too.

      Last I checked no hardware player could play 10-bit h264, stand-alone or built into a tv.