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internet of things ransomware

Is Your Smart TV at Risk of a Ransomware Cyberattack?

By John DiGiacomo

As the number of physical devices that are connected to the internet increases so too does the threat of cyberattacks on physical devices that are part of the Internet of Things. Practically everything that has electronics nowadays is connected online in what is known as the Internet of Things. Vehicles, dishwashing machines, refrigerators, and a number of  personal electronic devices are all part of the Internet of Things. Devices connected to the Internet of Things have a reputation for being vulnerable and insecure, and hackers try to take advantage.

Ransomware Attacks Made on Smart TVs

One type of cyber attack that is becoming more and more common involves the disbursement of ransomware to smart television sets. In many homes across the country people have purchased smart tv sets that are capable of streaming tv programming, but tv streaming comes with the risk of exposure to hackers. Hackers have been using ransomware to hold smart tv sets hostage. The hacks made against tv sets can happen in a number of ways.

  • Taking advantage of insecure network connections, hackers gain access to tv sets and install ransomware. When the set owner turns on the screen, a ransom note is displayed and the tv is rendered useless until the ransom is paid.
  • Hackers can gain access to smart tvs through applications that are downloaded on to the tv set by the user of the tv, for example, through an app for watching downloaded movies.

While tv sets are not a treasure trove of personal data, there is concern about how ransomware might be used in conjunction with smart tv sets that are always on. Voice activated smart tv sets are always monitoring what people say nearby while waiting to receive a voice command to turn on. It could be possible for hackers to gain access to this always-on feature to eavesdrop on people who do not realize that hackers are spying on them through their tv sets.

Devices on the Internet of Things Used for DoS Type Attacks

It is not uncommon for hackers to pull insecure and vulnerable devices belonging to the Internet of Things into bots for a botnet that are used to launch traffic-based attacks on targets, such as Denial of Service type attacks. While “smart” devices are marketed to consumers as physical devices that are connected to the Internet of Things, “smart” only refers to the fact that the device includes technology to connect the device to the internet – the term does not reflect how insecure and vulnerable devices connected to the Internet of Things are. Hackers see smart devices that are connected to the internet as opportunities for conducting their schemes.  

Cyber Threats are Changing and So is the Law

Cybersecurity is one of the most complicated areas of law due to its technical nature, and also due to its constant state of change. If you have been victimized by a cyber attack, you need to get in touch with an cybersecurity lawyer. Revision Legal has worked with countless clients across the country as they deal with their data security breaches. Please feel free to contact the cybersecurity breach lawyers at Revision Legal by using the online form on this page or call us at 855-473-8474.

Image credit: Samsung Newsroom

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