Sunday, February 26, 2012

Best Buy sees smart TVs invaded by porn after wi-fi hack

Customers at a Best Buy store in Greenville, SC were appalled when they were greeted by a pornographic image that was briefly displayed on the store's television sets, including large-screened 55-inch TVs. It wasn't a video, at least, but rather a pornographic picture of a man and woman.

Customer Gloria Berg said, "It was extremely, extremely pornographic image. I think even the word 'pornographic' doesn't cover it. I have never watched pornography, so I don't know what else you can see there, but to me, I really felt extremely violated."

According to the manager, Berg said, someone had used the store's wi-fi to upload the image to the TV's. He added that the same thing had happened the prior night and that there was nothing the store could do about it.

That's a little hard to understand. While wi-fi networks can be infiltrated, if they are "open," one would think Best Buy would know better, and have their network secured with WPA or WPA2 or some sort of encryption. Even if they were hacked, they should be able to make changes to prevent future hacks ... or at least slow the hackers down, not say there was nothing they could do about it.

While that was the store manager talking, the corporate office was a little more self-assured about the incident, and about future incidents. They said,

"Two individuals accessed our store's wireless signal to broadcast inappropriate content on a smart television display. In both cases, we worked immediately to disable the inappropriate content. We greatly apologize for this unfortunate incident and we are working to ensure that it does not happen again."

This is perhaps another cautionary tale of what happens when wi-fi is unsecured, though its unclear if that's what happened in the case of Best Buy. In the past, some people have even been subjected to criminal arrest when their wi-fi was leached by others downloading child porn or committing piracy.

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