Could high-definition televisions (HDTVs) be the next hack-attack frontier?
Market researcher DisplaySearch estimates that more than 40 million Internet-accessible TVs will be shipped worldwide in 2010, growing to 118 million by 2014.
According to Adrian Turner, CEO of device security vendor Mocana, "Internet-connected HDTVs are huge sellers this holiday season. But a lot of manufacturers are rushing Internet-connected consumer electronics to market without bothering to secure them." Mocana, not coincidentally, also develops a smart device security platform.
Attacks against HDTVs are entirely hypothetical, and Mocana didn't disclose which particular makes or models of televisions it tested or found flaws in. But potential attacks would include phishing attacks or surreptitiously monitoring users' viewing and Internet habits.
According to Mocana's report, its researchers also recovered third-party keys present on the devices, which were easy to glean since they were transmitted as unencrypted, clear text. The keys are present for providing such services as search, music, photo, and video-related services.
"A big TV manufacturer often purchases high-volume 'special' access privileges to these service provider's networks," according to Mocana. As a result, people could potentially use the keys to access pay-per-view or subscription-based services for free.