Security experts for years have been warning consumers that smart TVs are a prime target for hackers. Aside from the fact that sets with microphones and cameras can serve as excellent eavesdropping devices, we’re now seeing connected TVs being hit with ransomware.
As Bleeping Computer highlights, software engineer Darren Cauthon recently posted a photo on Twitter of a family member’s LG smart TV (model 50GA6400) that had been bricked by Android malware. Based on the image, the publication believes the set was infected with a version of the Cyber.Police ransomware, sometimes referred to as FLocker, Frantic Locker or Dogspectus.
The set in question is said to be one of the last models running Google TV before LG switched to webOS. Cauthon said he originally purchased the set for himself before passing it along to a family member.
The hacker demanded $500 to unlock the set but Cauthon wasn’t going to pay. Instead, he attempted to reset the TV to its factory condition but was unable to do so. He then reached out to LG for help.
Rather than instruct him on how to perform the factory reset, LG told him to take the set to a local service center where he would be charged a whopping $340. At that price, it’d probably be cheaper to buy a new TV outright.
LG ultimately had a change of heart (likely due to the attention the story generated on social media) and provided Cauthon with instructions on how to perform a factory reset – a process he recorded and posted on YouTube.