TECH

'Red Button' Attack Could Hack Your TV, Watch You Watching

09/06/2014 11:55 BST | Updated 09/06/2014 11:59 BST
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A new flaw has been found in todays smart TVs which means a hacker could easily gain access and start monitoring you with kit that costs only a few hundred pounds.

Reported by Forbes, these 'Red Button' attacks don't require the TV to have an internet connection, instead it hacks into the digital broadcasts used by services like Freeview.

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The flaw affects only those TVs that have adopted the new HbbTV standard which provides TV services via a hybrid of digital broadcasts (Freeview) and broadband (YouView).

Speaking to The Huffington Post, Kaspersky's Senior Security Expert David Emm explains that the flaw is more of a hijacking attack rather than a piece of software actually embedding within your TV.

"What they'd be able to do is inject their own stuff into the stream, they’re putting themselves between you and the broadcaster."

"So that would mean potentially that they’re able to do whatever the broadcaster would be able to do, whether that's access to social media or a website. They would then effectively be able to make themselves seem like a normal broadcaster."

Asked about the wider ramifications Emm explains that this isn't the first time smart TVs have been singled out as potential 'at risk' products for hack attacks.

"If you look at smart TVs, not only is it web access but you could potentially run apps on them. I remember a year ago when we had people pointing out the vulnerabilities of being able to access through the operating system."

By combining both digital and broadband services companies are able to create interactive ads with the digital broadcast serving the ad and the broadband aspect allowing users to then interact with it in real-time.

According to Forbes the flaw was discovered by Yossi Oren and Angelos Keromytis at the Columia University Network Security Lab.

They reportedly tried to prove their theory with a recorded demonstration of an attack on a smart TV but were dismissed with experts claiming it would cost too much to carry out.

Since then Oren has claimed that a hacker with a simple £200 1-watt amplifier would be able to carry out an attack with a radius of over 1.4km.

With smart TVs now becoming the norm in millions of home Emm points out that it begins to raise some important questions for consumers and for the industry as a whole.

"Who then becomes responsible for the protection of these new devices? They’re not a niche thing anymore, the people delivering the technology into these everyday devices need to keep a weather eye on the security aspect of that."