Owners of smart TVs running Android should be warned, ransomware can also infect televisions. Twitter user Darren Cauthon has tweeted how the TV of a family member was bricked after it was infected by ransomware.
— Darren Cauthon (@darrencauthon) December 25, 2016
The infection took place when the family member downloaded an app to watch a movie. Halfway the movie a fake FBI warning popped up stating, “Suspicious files have been found and your attendance of the forbidden pornographic sites has been fixed. For this reason your device has been locked. Information on your location and snapshots containing your face have been uploaded the on the FBI Cybercrime Department Datacenter.”
The ransom note then lists a penalty that has to be paid within 3 days, in this case $500.
Similar ransomware was already found on smartphones and where it’s fairly easy to remove ransomware from a smartphone, on a TV it’s a much more difficult venture.
The affected TV in this case was a three year old and discontinued LG TV (50GA6400). When Cauthon called LG for a fix, the manufacturer didn’t want to explain how to reset the TV to factory settings and the ransomware prevented access to any settings of the TV. It was even impossible to access the section where the payment details of the ransomware are, in case a victim actually hoped the TV would be unlocked when a payment was made.
Nevertheless, after complaining on Twitter and after his Tweet was retweeted and favorited thousands of times, LG contacted Cauthon. His TV is now fixed, as the video below shows.