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Smart TV & virus!

Talk about computer software/hardware problems, related to digital video or otherwise.

Smart TV & virus!

Postby GerryB » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:16 am

Belated Happy New Year to all Muvipixers.

Maybe this post could go in a new topic [Smart TVs] as I can’t see an appropriate one at the moment!

I have splashed out and bought a ‘smart TV’ and connected it to my LAN. I had wired up the house a few years ago before smart TVs were out there.

Now I have begun to think about virus attacks and other types of things that could compromise the TV and possibly worse my network/PCs.

As I understand it the TV runs on Linux which is more difficult to hack but … never say never!!

Equally, would a nerd be bothered to write a script to capture a brand or range of a brand of TV when there are easier ways to cause damage?

When I connected the TV to the LAN it found the network and its way out to the Internet and I could browse with NO intervention or setup on my part. I don’t like using the remote control to interface with the onscreen keyboard but…. that is for another post!

The TV updates automatically to the Sony network and this is where I began to think about the security around the TV-Sony connection. Whilst I have no reason to doubt Sony’s commitment to providing a secure service how much do they commit to keeping all viruses at bay? Updates seem to be running on a 14 day patter at the moment, is that significant?

I have read in the past about one manufacturer collecting the user data from the TV despite the Privacy settings being set to ON. So where do I go from here?

In addition to the LAN connection it is possible to connect the TV over Wifi and on iPhones I believe there is an app called "Personal Hot-Spot" which allows the iPhone to act as a network extender over WiFi. I have secure the router and it is using the preferred WPA2 (correct?) protocol. But can this be a route to infection?

Then there are the Netflix, Lovefilm and other such content sites and how well do they protect customers from viruses?

Can keystroke loggers be buried in the TV OS and record the bank login details for use by the criminals?

I suppose there is also a risk around using a Skype connection, can this be compromised? Can the camera and/or microphone be controlled remotely? This is getting spooky!!

There may also be route via the USB port: can an infected USB sticks be used to compromise the TV? Can infections be transmitted from/to a laptop to/from the TV over a USB connection?

I suppose the same questions applies to HDMI connections and rogue DVDs etc.

What I am thinking about is the “unknown unknowns” and what are the potential dangers around smart TVs in general.

If it makes sense to break this out into sub-answers I will have no problem.

Best wishes,

Gerry
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Re: Smart TV & virus!

Postby Steve Grisetti » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:00 am

This is a great question, Gerry! I've often wondered why smartphones, iPads, etc. don't get viruses -- or if they're something to be concerned with.
3.6 ghz i7-7700 running Windows 10 Pro 64-bit with 16 gigs RAM and a 2 terrabyte HD. Also iMac 2.6 ghz dual-core, 4 gigs of RAM, running OSX El Capitan and Boot Camp Windows 10 64-bit.
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Re: Smart TV & virus!

Postby Peru » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:45 am

Steve Grisetti wrote: I've often wondered why smartphones, iPads, etc. don't get viruses -- or if they're something to be concerned with.


Well, they do, but there isn't a lot of it going around yet. I expect as more people use them to access banking sites and other potentially lucrative targets, we will see it happen regularly. Companies like Symantic and all of the others are hoping it will happen, I surmise, as there will be a growing demand for their products.
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Re: Smart TV & virus!

Postby Bob » Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:42 pm

See this article: http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/security-it/smart-tvs-not-so-smart-when-it-comes-to-security-privacy-20131113-hv2jy.html

I hope that your LAN connects to the Internet through a router with a built-in firewall and not directly.
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Re: Smart TV & virus!

Postby GerryB » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:25 am

Thanks for the link Bob, I think I'm becoming paranoid! :pull:

I use network address translation on the router, I was led to believe that this is more robust than a firewall, but that was a few years ago. Does this still apply?

One piece that I don't understand: if I connect a PC/laptop to my LAN and I wish to use a printer I need to set up the PC/laptop to the network and then provide the password. Does this mean that the TV connects to the LAN in a different manner so as it can only get out on to the Internet and does not connect to the other devices?

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Re: Smart TV & virus!

Postby Bob » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:47 pm

First, the printer: Some printers are network enabled and some are not. A network enabled printer can attach to a network through a network port or wireless connection and be directly accessible to other devices on the network. If it is not attached directly to a network, it connects to a computer and is local to that computer. It can't be accessed by other devices on the network unless the computer is set up for printer sharing. If it is set up for printer sharing, the host computer can make it visible to the network so that other devices can use it. Generally, the device accessing the shared printer will need to authenticate itself to the host computer. This is where your password comes into play.

Your HDTV is network enabled so it can connect to the Internet. As such, it could potentially access any device on your network. However, that generally doesn't happen. A TV is not a general purpose computer and the apps it runs generally only need Internet access.

Network address translation (NAT) and firewalls serve different purposes and provide completely different functions.

NAT was originally developed to alleviate the shortage of IP addresses in Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) networks. Without NAT, every device would require a separate public IP address. Due to the way public addresses are assigned in IPv4, it is very easy for small networks with lots of devices to run out of available public addresses. With NAT, the router has a public IP address, but the devices in the user's network do not. Those devices are assigned a private address and the router translates between the private device address and the public router address. Your entire network essentially looks like one device to the Internet. An important side benefit of this is that NAT hides the private network structure. Someone outside the private network will not be able to see how many devices you have on the private network and will not be able to directly establish a connection with one from the Internet. Connections to the Internet have to originate from within the private network. However, once a connection to an Internet address is established, a hacker could utilize the connection to invade your network. And, of course, if a hacker manages to get malicious code on one of your networked PCs through any means, it can access your entire network. And, NAT does not provide a barrier for malware to communicate back to the hacker.

Firewalls, on the other hand, are much more sophisticated. Unlike NAT, which simply translates IP addresses, firewalls can inspect each information packet transmitted and allow or disallow transmission according to rules that are set on the firewall. There are two types of firewalls, hardware and software. Hardware firewalls are implemented in firmware and reside on routers, switches, and wireless access points. Software firewalls run on individual computers and servers. If you connect to the Internet using a router or wireless access point, it will undoubtedly have a basic firewall built-in.
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Re: Smart TV & virus!

Postby GerryB » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:53 am

Thanks Bob,
Yes, I use a modem/router so I guess I have a Firewall after all!!
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Re: Smart TV & virus!

Postby Bob » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:33 pm

If you are using Windows 7 or 8, you'll have a software firewall too, and it's on by default.

Hardware and software firewalls complement each other. The router firewall is mainly concerned about keeping the bad stuff from entering your network from the Internet. Kind of like a doorman/bouncer at a club. Outbound traffic is generally allowed unless you block it. The software firewall runs on a computer, so it knows more about the applications that are generating the traffic and can better identify malicious traffic and stop it before it leaves the computer. This is more like the inside security guard that watches what people are doing while in the club.

The Windows firewall does not stop outbound traffic by default, but it can be configured manually to do so. However, the interface is not particularly friendly. Third party software firewalls are available. If you have an antivirus product installed, it may have also installed it's own firewall to replace the Windows firewall. Norton Internet Security does this, for example. Generally, those firewalls are configured to block outbound traffic when necessary and may be able to automatically add firewall rules specific to an application without user intervention.
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