Connected TV has been an undoubted success story of 2010, but their popularity extends to places where manufacturers perhaps do not want to reach: the cybercriminal fraternity.
To give an indication of the potential size of the problem,or opportunity for the connected TV market, in November 2010, market analyst DisplaySearchpredicted that over 40 million Internet-accessible TVs would have shippedworldwide by the end of 2010 and that this number will grow to 118 millionglobal shipments by 2014.
The Mocana study claims to have identified several importantdigital security flaws in one of the top best-selling brands of Internet-connectedHDTVs which the researchers believe exist in other Internet TVs. They recommendthat consumers seek out third-party security tests of the appliances beforethey are purchased and installed in the home.
Mocana says that attackers may be able to break into Internet-connectedTVs to hack into consumers' home network. This leads to a number of potentialserious ramifications such as stealing credit card information and interceptingand redirecting Internet traffic to and from the HDTV.
For example, viewers may be fooled into thinking that "imposter"banking and commerce websites were legitimate. In addition, Mocana believes thatattackers could potentially steal and co-op the TV manufacturer's digitalcorporate credentials to gain privileged access to backend services fromthird-party organisations such as leading search engine and video streaming sites.Researchers were able to recover the manufacturer's private third-partydeveloper keys from the connected TV because in many cases, these keys weretransmitted unencrypted and in the clear.
Said Mocana CEO Adrian Turner: "A lot of manufacturers arerushing Internet-connected consumer electronics to market without bothering tosecure them. I think this study demonstrates how risky it is to 'connect first,worry later', and suggests that consumer electronics companies that might lackinternal security expertise should seek it out, before connecting theirportfolio of consumer devices to the Internet."
The study is available in redacted form at http://www.mocana.com/tv.pdf