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Samsung Reveals Kill Switch That Can Remotely Disable Stolen TVs

Samsung, an early leader in smart TVs, has revealed a kill switch that can remotely disable stolen TVs in the case of theft. Most of Samsung’s TVs feature wired or wireless connectivity and have the capability to run apps, stream videos without Apple TV or Roku, and even access PCs. The event was likely caused by an incident regarding South African President Jacob Zuma’s 15-month prison sentence. The sentence, which began in early July, set off rioting in Zuma’s home province. Three days later, a Samsung warehouse in the province was ransacked and the looters fled with thousands of dollars in smart TVs.

Samsung then remotely activated a feature known as TV Block, which renders the TV useless. Samsung has triggered the block for all of the sets that were stolen from the warehouse in South Africa. Although a potentially useful tool, the feature has prompted a number of questions from security professionals. A current misconfiguration or server-side glitch could actually cause sets to be blocked accidentally, and the potential for misuse also has some wondering if cybercriminals would be able to remotely shut down Samsung TVs by hacking the app.

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OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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