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David Guyatt
04-29-2013, 11:00 AM
An interesting, and I suppose, inevitable development. George would turn in his grave. On the other hand we already have had years of the Ministry of Truth, so what not tvs that watch you.


Smart TVs can spy on their owners (http://rt.com/usa/smart-tv-security-access-092/)
Viewers, beware: while you’re watching TV, your TV might be watching you back. A security firm discovered that Samsung’s Smart TV can give hackers access to the device’s built-in camera and microphones, allowing them to watch everything you do.


The Malta-based firm ReVuln posted a video showing its team of researchers hacking into one of the Samsung TVs and accessing its settings, channel lists, widgets, USB drives, and remote control configurations. The security flaw allows hackers to access any and all personal data stored on the TV.


“We can install malicious software to gain complete root access to the TV,” the video writes.


With this access, hackers can use the Smart TVs built-in camera and microphones to see and hear everything in front of it. Instead of just watching TV, viewers could themselves be watched without knowing it.


But this flaw isn’t present in just one specific model. The vulnerability affects all 11 Samsung televisions of the latest generation. The Smart TVs have many of the same features as a computer, but lack the same kind of protection. The devices do not have security features such as firewalls and antivirus software.


Fortunately for concerned viewers, the problem has a silver lining: hackers must first breach the network that the television is connected to, as well as know the IP address of the device. As a result, security breaches would likely only occur as a targeted attack against an individual, rather than randomly. Unlike an Internet virus, a hacker would have to exploit the network manually.


Luigi Auriemma, co-founder of ReVuln, told NBC News that the main concern with this possibility is that hackers could target specific companies or individuals whose businesses they have an interest in.


“In our opinion, it’s more interesting and realistic to think about attacks [against] specific targets reached via open/weak/hacked Wi-Fi or compromised computers of a network, instead of mass-exploiting via the Internet,” Auriemma wrote in a statement for NBC. “That’s interesting due to the effects of the vulnerability (retrieving information and the possibility of monitoring) which are perfect for targeted attacks, from a specific person with a TV at home to a company with TVs in its offices.”


A hacker must be connected to the local network in order to access the Smart TV – so keeping wifi passwords secure is very important. Those with stalkers or valuable data on their device may want to be particularly cautious.


“Consider that little kid next door that’s good with computers,” said Travis Carelock, content director and research technologist at Black Hat.


“We’re moving into a whole different world,” said Trey Ford, general manager of the group. “Growing up, you and I didn’t have a wirelessly connected camera pointing at the couch.”


Viewers who have any of the plasma 8000 series, the 7500 LED LCD series, the 8000 LED LCD series or the 9000 LED LCD series might want to make sure to keep personal data off their TVs and be careful about what they say or do in the device’s presence.


Even though chances might be slim that the average viewer will have his or her Smart TV hacked into, the capability of technology to watch its viewers is a chilling glimpse into a more high-tech future.


“That’s what will make this a whole lot more fun in the future,” Ford said.


Samsung said it is launching an investigation to look into the security flaw.

A security flaw? Give me a break.



Tech Companies are Developing TV’s that Watch You (http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/tech-companies-are-developping-tvs-that-watch-you/)4685
The new generation of HDTV’s and cable receivers sold to the public contain features that are not very publicized by tech companies: Cameras, mics and sensors that have the ability of recording everything that is happening in the living room. Not unlike the telescreens in George Orwell’s novel 1984, TV’s will soon be able to watch and even thoroughly analyze everyone present in the devices’ vicinity.


The cable company Verizon has recently filed a patent for a system that contain audio and video sensors coupled with facial and profile recognition software. That would allow the company to obtain information such as the number people in the room, their sex, their race, what they are doing and even what they are consuming while watching TV. The goal of such a system is to broadcast “targeted advertising” but crossing the line to outright spying on people is only footstep away. Here’s an article on Verizon’s patent.


Verizon Files Patent for Creepy Device To Watch You While You Watch TV
Picture this: You’re having an argument with your partner while watching television, and suddenly an advertisement comes on for marriage counseling. Or maybe you’re doing some weightlifting while a movie plays in the background, and ads for health food pop up on the screen.


In the past, it would have been mere coincidence. But in the future, things look set to change, thanks to Verizon’s “gesture recognition technology.”


The company has filed a patent, published last week, for a system designed to be used in the home to target advertisements at people. Using a combination of image and audio sensors, it would detect actions in your living room while you were watching TV. These sensors, deploying facial and profile recognition, would pick up “physical attributes” like skin color, facial features, and even hair length, and also detect “voice attributes” to help determine the tone of your voice, your accent, and the language you speak. Inanimate objects aren’t off-limits—the technology could also spot beer cans and wall art.


Combined, this would mean that your TV or set-top box would effectively be watching and listening to you while you snuggle up on the couch with your partner to watch the latest episode of Homeland. If the cuddling went a bit further, the chances are the technology would pick up the noises and start playing ads for “a commercial for a contraceptive” or “a commercial for flowers,” as outlined in the patent.


The patent also says if the device picks up that the user is “stressed” then it “may select an advertisement associated with the detected mood (e.g., a commercial for a stress-relief product such as aromatherapy candles, a vacation resort, etc.).” It adds that “If a couple is arguing/fighting with each other” the system “may select an advertisement associated marriage/relationship counseling.” And if the sensors detect that a user is a kid, the system will trigger “more advertisements targeted to and/or appropriate for young children.”


As Steve Donohue at FieceCable has noted, Verizon’s technology would operate in the same way Google targets Gmail users based on the content of their emails—only transposing that principle into the home by “scanning conversations of viewers that are within a ‘detection zone’ near their TV, including telephone conversations.” Of course, this is only a patent, so you don’t have to start eyeing your TV suspiciously—for now. ArsTechnica points out similar patents have been filed before and have yet to be put into practice. But that doesn’t make this latest incarnation any less creepy—and is perhaps an illustration of how surveillance-style technologies are increasingly encroaching on private life.

Magda Hassan
05-04-2013, 01:42 AM
See also this thread: https://deeppoliticsforum.com/forums/showthread.php?11528-Remote-Administration-Tool-(RAT)