Can a TV get a Virus? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 03-26-2010, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Sony warns that any firmware upgrades cannot be reversed. So, I am not sure whether I would ever do any firmware upgrade. Do you find them to be harmful?

And also, if you connect to the Internet can the tv get a virus? ... I'm thinking why not!?
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post #2 of 19 Old 03-26-2010, 03:34 PM
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Although a virus could be present in an internet stream, they are typically coded to attack/exploit windows based OS's. The software/firmware that runs the tv is typically either Linux, or open GL. So once a virus got into the tv, it likely couldn't do any damage unless is was specifically created to exploit the source code that runs the tv.
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post #3 of 19 Old 03-26-2010, 03:35 PM
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Firmware upgrades can fix issues with a given tv or provide new features that your tv didn't have before. However, firmware upgrades can also introduce new problems that didn't exist before. As such, I would recommend waiting at least two weeks before applying a new firmware, just to be sure that are no problems with it.

Regarding viruses, I guess it is technically possible to have a virus for your tv. That said, viruses need to be written specifically for any given target. In the case of computers, it usually is the operating system, browser, or application. Would a hacker want to write something to specifically target a tv? Probably not.
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post #4 of 19 Old 03-26-2010, 04:44 PM
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Yes but it would be a waste of time to do so. It would barely effect any tv's so to code something that would hardly do any damage would be a waste. And, most importantly, it wouldn't take much to reinstall a tv back to the original firmware yeilding the virus pointless. With computers it is much more effective to plan a virus attack because it isn't very easy to just go and reinstall the operating system. You could but it'd be a pain and you'd lose a lot of data. Like guy said above, viruses are mostly written to target Windows OS. I'm not going to get into a windows/mac debate but the biggest reason windows gets viruses is because 95% of the population owns windows. If you're going to code a virus, you're going to go after the majority to do the most damage.

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post #5 of 19 Old 03-26-2010, 05:57 PM
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is it possible? yes

is it probable? no


most TV's made today run on the linux kernel.

Virus coders create viruses that will exploit a security flaw in a certain software to get into the system and gain access. once in is when they start to do their dirty work.

the dangerous viruses made these days are dangerous because they are wrote to exploit commonly used software so they can spread quickly.

this is why the vast majority of viruses are wrote for windows machines and even though there are viruses that can attack mac (unix based) and Linux OS's they are very few and far between and usually do not exploit the kernel but as someone else said already exploit bugs in other programs people are running.

these TV's are generally only using the linux kernel and a few other open source programs like busybox and everything else is closed source and proprietary software and this will make it much harder to find exploits in.

as you can see the difficulty and lack of universally working across the various brands and model TV's would make this something that a hacker would simply not want to waste time on.

in 10 years or so perhaps maybe this may happen when all TV's are connected to the net and may even share common programs like PC's today do. until then i highly doubt it will happen

If you're a gamer or interested in using an LCD TV as a primary monitor take a look at my thread on Input Lag
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post #6 of 19 Old 03-27-2010, 07:18 AM
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There is also the possibility of corrupted firmware, especially during or after a 'flash' upgrade which would/could behave similar to a 'virus'.
No different than a bad 'flash' of a Motherboard.

(Knock on wood, after 10+ years it hasn't happened to me).

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #7 of 19 Old 03-27-2010, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

There is also the possibility of corrupted firmware, especially during or after a 'flash' upgrade which would/could behave similar to a 'virus'.
No different than a bad 'flash' of a Motherboard.

(Knock on wood, after 10+ years it hasn't happened to me).

pretty unlikely to happen as long as you don't do something stupid during the flash like unplug the TV or remove the storage device. there is of course the off chance that a power outage could happen when doing it and that would be really unfortunate

If you're a gamer or interested in using an LCD TV as a primary monitor take a look at my thread on Input Lag
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post #8 of 19 Old 03-27-2010, 09:40 AM
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How about a bad USB stick? A bad transfer from a PC to the stick?

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #9 of 19 Old 03-27-2010, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

How about a bad USB stick? A bad transfer from a PC to the stick?

the TV checks the integrity of the image file before it starts the flash process.

if they did not do this then TV's would get bricked left and right.

i've never seen any device that did not check the file before flashing and i've flashed many devices many times before

my Cellphone a T-mobile G1 has been flashed dozens upon dozens of times (android hacking ftw)

my Sony 32XBR6 has had 3 firmware updates flashed to it.

my Asus O!Play has been flashed twice

I've flashed motherboards countless amounts of times over the years

I've flashed DVD-Rom Drives many times (some people may know why )

the only time i have ever encountered problems with flashing a device was when i was into hacking sat receivers and this was because you are doing a low level flash that is not supposed to be done by end users and required soldering LPT port interfaces onto its mainboard and using a parallel cable to the PC and software not wrote by the manufacture to perform the flash. even then though the nice thing about doing this type of flashing is if it goes wrong and it does sometimes you can always do it again because the interface is with the hardware directly and a bad firmware flash will not stop you from re-writing a new firmware image onto the TSOP

If you're a gamer or interested in using an LCD TV as a primary monitor take a look at my thread on Input Lag
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post #10 of 19 Old 03-27-2010, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Not sure how to reply to everyone without editing my original post. But, I was also asking the question because some of the camcorders tie into using them in various ways with a computer and then back into the tv; and the specs sheet on various brands and models mentioning having a MAC or Windows OS. So, without having a clue what to really ask at this point, is there anything to watch out for in this type of scenario? Say, for example I have a Sony Camcorder and TV and they are set up to link to each other, can the camcorder material that goes into the computer and then back to the tv cause any virus like problems, or perhaps the tv is safe but maybe not the camcorder? ... not trying to beat a dead horse, just double checking. Is it still the same answer?
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post #11 of 19 Old 03-27-2010, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diyer999 View Post

And also, if you connect to the Internet can the tv get a virus? ... I'm thinking why not!?

Not yet, I'm not finished with the code. What model TV did you say you have?
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post #12 of 19 Old 03-27-2010, 04:15 PM
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Question: Can a TV get a Virus?

Answer: Only if you don't button up its little sweater and put its little hat on.
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post #13 of 19 Old 03-27-2010, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diyer999 View Post

Not sure how to reply to everyone without editing my original post. But, I was also asking the question because some of the camcorders tie into using them in various ways with a computer and then back into the tv; and the specs sheet on various brands and models mentioning having a MAC or Windows OS. So, without having a clue what to really ask at this point, is there anything to watch out for in this type of scenario? Say, for example I have a Sony Camcorder and TV and they are set up to link to each other, can the camcorder material that goes into the computer and then back to the tv cause any virus like problems, or perhaps the tv is safe but maybe not the camcorder? ... not trying to beat a dead horse, just double checking. Is it still the same answer?

Answer is still no.

You know how there are certain Viruses that can infect different kinds of animals, but not humans, and vice versa? It's kind of similar with computers.

If a virus was made to execute on a Windows box, it can only execute on a Windows box. If a self replicating virus copied itself to an external mass storage device like a USB key, and you connect the key to any non windows computer like a Mac/Camara/TV/Linux box/PS3/XBOX 360 (Yeah, not the same as a Windows box)/etc it plain will not execute.

But, say, connect that USB key to another Windows box and BAM! Infection.
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post #14 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 05:15 AM
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i've never seen any device that did not check the file before flashing

Just how do you know this? I have never seen any message stating so. Are you just assuming this is happening? Assuming this is actually done, that doesn't mean a transfer can't go bad.
frito; There is always a first time. My point is, the possibility is there.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #15 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diyer999 View Post

Sony warns that any firmware upgrades cannot be reversed. So, I am not sure whether I would ever do any firmware upgrade. Do you find them to be harmful?

And also, if you connect to the Internet can the tv get a virus? ... I'm thinking why not!?

Hmmm... A FW update that "claims" to fix the rising black levels on Panasonic plasmas, but instead tripples the black level! Ha! If that happens, not my fault! That'd be a great April 1st joke...
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post #16 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Just how do you know this? I have never seen any message stating so. Are you just assuming this is happening? Assuming this is actually done, that doesn't mean a transfer can't go bad.
frito; There is always a first time. My point is, the possibility is there.

it would be an enormously stupid mistake by a manufacture to do blind flashing of firmware without checking the image beforehand

many devices actually do say they are verifying them but most are not as verbose with the process but i'm sure they are doing it

If you're a gamer or interested in using an LCD TV as a primary monitor take a look at my thread on Input Lag
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post #17 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rgb32 View Post

Hmmm... A FW update that "claims" to fix the rising black levels on Panasonic plasmas, but instead tripples the black level! Ha! If that happens, not my fault! That'd be a great April 1st joke...

Uh, that might not be a joke at all, I was just on Amazon researching reviews on some new Pannny Plasma models, and one person is claiming that his black levels are rising.

Black Levels WILL Increase (Get Brighter) Dramatically After a Short Time, March 24, 2010 By Christian Z. Newth - See all my reviews
This review is from: Panasonic VIERA TC-P50G25 50-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV (Electronics)

I am the owner of a 2009 Panasonic G10 and I wanted to write a warning to all potential buyers of this product. 2008, 2009, and 2010 Panasonic plasma TVs have a 'feature' that increases voltage after predetermined amounts of viewing. This feature is causing 2009 plasma screens to have significantly increase black levels (~3 times brighter) after approximately 1000 hours of use. Panasonic has responded to this incredible revelation by saying that this is a standard 'feature' and that the TVs are operating 'normally'. From CNET, who tested sets at different hours of usage: "According to our measurements, the models with 1,500 hours both reproduced black at 0.023 footlamberts; the 500-hour models measured 0.008". If you do the math, this represents almost a threefold increase. People who purchased these sets are realizing that they purchased a 'lemon', as one of the main benefits (deep black levels) is a lie, or at least a 'temporary feature'. As far as the 2010 models go, Panasonic has indicated that the same 'technology' is being used (ie voltage increases) but that these increases will occur more gradually. It is too early to tell what exactly the company means by 'more gradually', but what is certain is that Panasonic had shown utter disregard for those that purchased 2009 sets. Please head over to the professional review site CNET for more information: [...] Or search for 'panasonic black level problem' on Google. Another option would be to search for the name of the CNET editor who is covering this issue, David Katzmaier. Buyer beware!
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post #18 of 19 Old 03-29-2010, 05:54 AM
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it would be an enormously stupid mistake by a manufacture to do blind flashing of firmware without checking the image beforehand

And you have never seen "enormously stupid mistakes" done before by these CE manufactures?

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #19 of 19 Old 03-29-2010, 11:27 AM
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Can a TV get a virus?
I would guess it's certainly possible. Pretty much anything that runs instructions can run unintended instructions.

Is it likely?
Probably not. First of all, the person writing the virus would need to understand the system the virus is running on. There are millions of people who know how to write a windows program and get it running on a remote computer, but maybe 25 who know how to do the same on your TV. Anyone writing the virus for a TV would most likely have written software for that particular TV in the past. Like a former employee. Just because the TV runs linux, doesn't mean any linux programmer can write software that will run on it. A TV running linux and a computer running linux are two completely different things.

Anyway, what you would get wouldn't technically be a virus since it would be impossible to spread from your TV to someone else's TV. It would be more like firmware terrorism.
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