After the revelation of NSA’s PRISM program, it now seems as Spying is the new trend and everyone is in fashion.
Few days back a UK based developer and Linux enthusiast DoctorBeet revealed on his blog about his latest discovery on how LG Smart TVs are logging your personal data including the channel you watch and USB data that you connect to your TV.
Ever since his findings, the story has gone viral and had been reposted on various security blogs and webpages, and just few hours back, the InformationWeek has reported that LG has admitted its Smart TVs were spying on users’ data.
LG TVs comes with an option to grant its users with an option if they want to enable the feature to collect their data.
This option meant to be used for LG Smart Ad analyses to offer users ads based on their favourite programs, online behaviour, search keywords and other information, but according to the DoctorBeet’s discovery, regardless of whether this option is set to On or Off, your private data is still sent to LG Servers.
He also claimed that, each time a user switch the channel, the data is logged and sent to the LG servers. This user data is sent as a plain text with no encryption algorithm applied whatsoever. DoctorBeet wrote,
“This information appears to be sent back unencrypted and in the clear to LG every time you change channel, even if you have gone to the trouble of changing the setting above to switch collection of viewing information off.”
He also had demonstrated how poorly LG is gathering data from your USB devices here on his blog.
After the evidence collected, DoctorBeet approached LG to catch their views regarding breach, and wrote LG an e-mail, to which LG replied,
Thank you for your e-mail.
Further to our previous email to yourself, we have escalated the issues you reported to LG’s UK Head Office.
The advice we have been given is that unfortunately as you accepted the Terms and Conditions on your TV, your concerns would be best directed to the retailer. We understand you feel you should have been made aware of these T’s and C’s at the point of sale, and for obvious reasons LG are unable to pass comment on their actions.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us again.
LG Electronics UK Helpdesk
Tel: 0844 847 5454
Fax: 01480 274 000
DoctorBeet had also presented a simple solution to avoid this unnecessary spying by blocking various domains for outgoing traffic from your Router, you can read this solution and his discovery with more technical details on his official blog here.
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