back to article Infosec researchers pwned Comcast's voice-activated remote control so it could snoop on household chit-chat

A voice-activated TV remote can be turned into a covert home surveillance device, according to researchers from infosec firm Guardicore who probed the device to show that a man-in-the-middle attack could compromise it. Guardicore discovered an attack vector on US telco giant Comcast's Xfinity XR11 voice remote – of which …

  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    It's got a mic and s**t security

    Welcome to "Open mic" night in your home.

    1. RM Myers Silver badge

      Re: It's got a mic and s**t security

      Wait until you get that new internet connected smart toilet! That will put a whole new meaning to sh*t security. And they come with mic's!

  2. Korev Silver badge
    Big Brother

    There's a reason my Samsung TV is blocked on my firewall. (It's on the network so I can watch things on my NAS)

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      This has nothing to do with InternetOfTwats... this is a simple insecure RF link.

  3. LDS Silver badge

    I surprised a Sky drone when I refused an offer for replacing my actual device with a Sky Q - when I said "I don't want a f*******g microphone listening in my living room!"

    Even my smartphones are not there.

    1. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

      You have to at least press a button to make it start listening

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Have to press a button

        Well, that's what they _say_, but then, that's what they would say.

        Do you feel _lucky_?

  4. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    In case you wondered

    In case you wondered, WTF is the point of this? My parent's Dish Network remote has this setup (but hopefully better security.) The way it works stock, it doesn't listen to a thing until you hit a microphone button on it (the button looks like an old timey barrel mic). I'd like to think it's this way for security; I guess that's possible, but let's face it, it was probably done that way just because running a mic on a remote 24/7 would run the batteries down too fast. (Google, Amazon, I'm looking at you -- having your little assistants spying 24/7 supposedly just to listen for "Hey Google" or "Hey Alexa"? No thanks, give me a button!) I don't use the mic, my dad LOVES hitting the button and saying "history channel" or "BBC America" or whatever to it.

    1. Drew Scriver

      Re: In case you wondered

      The way it works stock, I hope it doesn't listen to a thing until you hit a microphone button on it.

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: In case you wondered

        Simple way to tell. Need to replace the batteries once a week? It's listening. If they last for months/years, it's not.

  5. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    A voice-activated TV remote can be turned into a covert home surveillance device

    I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

  6. Drew Scriver

    At least one of the top-10 banks in the US has issued a Cyber policy mandating that all "smart devices" within earshot are turned off if you work from home. I'm pretty sure they have a very good reason for this rather unpopular policy.

    1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Yet, none of their web sites use 2FA security. Yeah, we so where their priorities are.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Guess people haven't learned much in the 7 years since Edward Snowden

    These days I think I'd just tap the broadband line/phone line out of someones house.

    Bound to be some device that a)Has a mic b)Sends it to a server c)Can have their security (or the data stream they are sending 24/7/365) compromised.

    Do all those extra microphones and cameras in your house make you feel "safe"

    Or just watched.

  8. Gene Jones

    Been telling people for years any microphone or camera in their home is ripe for hacking by both government and drive-by snoops, and it's harvest season 365 days a year.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021