Millions of smart TVs can be hijacked by burying attack code in signals broadcast to the net-connected devices, security experts warn.
The attack exploits loopholes in widely used technology that helps smart TVs receive tailored adverts.
Once hijacked, the TVs could be made to send messages on behalf of attackers, find other vulnerable devices in a home or launch other attacks across the net.
Detecting and stopping the attack would be difficult, said the researchers.
The attack uses the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) standard that is widely supported in smart television sets sold in Europe.
The HbbTV system was designed to help broadcasters exploit the internet connection of a smart TV to add extra information to programmes or so advertisers can do a better job of targeting viewers.
But Yossef Oren and Angelos Keromytis, from the Network Security Lab, at Columbia University, have found a way to hijack HbbTV using a cheap antenna and carefully crafted broadcast messages.
found on the BBC