Warning for TV viewers as set-top boxes could be spying on you in your own home
A range of dirt-cheap bargain TV set top boxes are being sold to unsuspecting customers packed full of viruses and malware, a cybersecurity firm has founded.
Several popular Android TV boxes which are easily available online for a budget price have been found to be preloaded with malware which communicates with a shady 'botnet'.
According to TechRadar, the streaming gadgets download malware which clicks on ads in the background as you watch TV in order to make money for other people.
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One of these set-top boxes, the AllWinner T95, can be picked up on Amazon for less than £30, a bargain which turns out is too good to be true.
Cybersecurity experts have found that other Android TV streaming boxes have the same issue, including the RockChip X12 Plus and the RockChip X88 Pro 10.
Researcher Daniel Milisic said he reached out to the internet company which was hosting the dodgy servers, and they said they switched them off.
However, he added that there is nothing stopping cybercriminals from just starting a new server and carrying on.
EFF security expert Bill Budington confirmed the findings, and warned that the average user doesn't generally have the tools or knowledge to remove dodgy software from their TV boxes.
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Mr Budington told TechCrunch: "It's an impressive and unsettling operation.
"It's difficult to quantify the scale of this network. What we do know is that everywhere we look there are different variants of Android trojan malware downloading next-stage malware from the same set of IPs, ones that have been involved in supply-chain attacks in the past."
If you believe you have one of the infected Android TV boxes, your best course of action is probably to replace it with an official product from a reputable brand, rather than another cheap streaming gadget.
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