Smart Devices? Or Shortcuts for Hackers?


Researchers at security software developer Avast successfully hacked a Vizio Smart TV to gain access to a home network, the company said in a Nov. 11 blog post.

More surprisingly, though, was their discovery that the smart TV was actually broadcasting “fingerprints of users’ activities”--regardless of whether users had agreed to the device’s privacy policy and terms of services. In addition, through a series of “man-in-the-middle” attacks, Avast researchers were able to inject a command that caused the TV to send its entire file system--and copy its data--to a USB stick.

“With all of our physical devices connected to the Internet, it’s important to understand how someone might access your information or violate your privacy through these devices,” Avast said. “We are now living in the world of the Internet of Things.”

After being notified of the findings, Vizio reportedly resolved the issues.

Vizio, however, was hit Nov. 13 with a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that the consumer data the company collects and shares is insufficiently protected, allowing other parties to identify the consumer by name. 

Hacking into a home network through a vulnerability in a connected device is not a new development.

Last year, a hacked refrigerator and other smart appliances were used to send waves of more than 750,000 malicious spam e-mails. It was allegedly the first proven Internet of things-based cyberattack.

Furthermore, at a hacking conference in August, research group Pen Test Partners was able to hack into a smart fridge.


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