Android-powered smart TVs targeted by malicious apps

An old Android vulnerability is still present in many brands of smart TVs

Smart TVs running older versions of Android are being targeted by several websites offering apps containing malware, according to Trend Micro.

The security vendor wrote on Thursday that it found a handful of app websites targeting people in the U.S. and Canada by offering the malicious apps.

The apps are exploiting a flaw in Android that dates to 2014, showing that many smart TVs do not have the latest patches.

"Most smart TVs today use older versions of Android, which still contain this flaw," wrote Ju Zhu, a mobile threats analyst with Trend. "While most mobile Android devices can easily be upgraded to the latest version, upgrading smart TV sets may be more challenging for users because they are limited by the hardware."

The vulnerable Android versions are Cupcake 1.5 through Kitkat 4.4W.2., Zhu wrote.

Security experts say that smart TVs could become attractive to cybercriminals since their operating systems are not updated as rigorously as desktop computers.

Smart TVs are rising in popularity and are essentially large versions of mobile phones. The devices have operating systems and networking capabilities and hardware features such as USB ports, all of which present opportunities for hackers.

The malicious apps exploit the Android vulnerability when a user downloads one. Zhu said TV users are lured to the app sites but didn't describe if there are other tricks involved in getting people to download the apps.

Once a malicious app is installed, it is possible for the attackers to install other apps on the smart TV.

The app websites do not use SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security), which encrypts the connection. It would be possible then for a second attacker to intercept the unencrypted connection and conduct a man-in-the-middle attack "in effect overriding the payload of the first attacker," Zhu wrote.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?