IoT Botnet Targets Android Smart TVs and Set-Top Boxes

IoT Botnet Targets Android Smart TVs and Set-Top Boxes

The device security company WootCloud has uncovered an IoT botnet that targets Android set-top boxes and TVs. Dubbed “Ares”, the botnet specifically takes advantage of the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) infrastructure, which is a communications component that allows for the remote management of Android devices.

WootCloud was able to discover the botnet with the help of its HyperContext Device Security Solution, and warns that more devices will be compromised – and more people will be placed at risk – if the vulnerability is not addressed. 

“The Ares Botnet has the potential to be a powerful base by which attackers could conduct a wide range of malicious activities,” said WootCloud Founder and CTO Srinivas Akella. “We’ve already witnessed this in action as hackers have launched major threats to the Android-based devices including malware for crypto-mining, mobile spying and data and information theft.”

In its report, WootCloud notes that one out of every ten smart TVs currently uses the Android Operating System. The company indicated that it had found the exploit in devices from several manufacturers, including Huawei, Cubetek, and Qezy Media.

The exposure of the botnet is yet another reminder that IoT security does not seem to be advancing as quickly as IoT convenience. The news comes shortly after two US Senators expressed concern about malware vulnerabilities in smart cars, while the FTC has previously investigated Samsung Smart TVs for potential privacy issues. Android TVs offer greater utility, but the Ares botnet demonstrates that an internet connection also carries a degree of risk if that connection is unsecured.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a growing network of connected machines and objects that can communicate with each other and the Internet to better automate, creating efficiency and synergy. As the machine-to-machine begins to spread into consumer and residential markets, end users are beginning to require methods of interfacing with the network. Biometrics, smartphones and wearable tech are converging to allow for a more accessible IoT.

At the same time, as the IoT grows to control more and more of every day automated life, there is a growing importance for security and regulation. Many experts believe that biometrics and mobility hold the key to a safer and more secure IoT. Learn more on Mobile ID World’s Internet of Things page.