- Some Android TV boxes have malware risks and are not Google-certified.
- Low-cost Android TV devices engage in cyberattacks and ad-click fraud.
- Compromised TV boxes steal data and generate revenue maliciously. Caution advised.
A Google employee confirmed on the Google Android tv support forum that the tech giant has recently received a question related to Tv boxes that are built on an Android open-source project and are marketed as Android Tv OS devices.
Yet, it’s common knowledge that looks can often mislead. As the warning continues these devices may have google play store and other apps pre-installed in them this doesn’t mean they are in any way part of the Google project. Not only they are not part of Google they are not even “Play protected certified”.
Google responds to reports of malware in Android TV boxeshttps://t.co/LmLo5IzWbN— FlatpanelsHD (@Flatpanels) May 31, 2023
This thing is worrying for Android users because being “play protected certified” means that the app does not have any malware threats approved by Google so it is safe to use. “We work with our partners to ensure Android TV OS devices adhere to stringent security and privacy policies and undergo extensive testing to ensure quality and user safety” a Google employee explained in a blog post.
In recent news, there have been reports about certain low-cost Android TV devices available for purchase online that come pre-installed with malicious software. Surprisingly, these devices have gained immense popularity despite their hidden dangers, as they are found to be capable of launching coordinated cyberattacks.
Independent security researchers have discovered that these Android TV devices utilize malware to establish connections with command and control servers. Their ultimate goal is to deliver a harmful payload known as a ‘clickbot.’ This malicious software operates surreptitiously in the background, generating revenue for the perpetrators through ad-click fraud. Users remain completely unaware of these activities. What’s more concerning is that compromised Android TV devices join forces with others, forming a large network called a botnet, comprising thousands of TV boxes. This network collectively engages in ad-click fraud.
Instead of providing users with additional channels, some of these untrustworthy TV boxes are actually delivering malware. Adrianus Warmenhoven, a cybersecurity advisor at NordVPN, explains that this software not only steals users’ personal data but also enables the TV box to connect with a wider network of malicious bots. Cybercriminals exploit this network to generate revenue by mining cryptocurrency or engaging in ad-click fraud.
Warmenhoven emphasizes the importance of raising awareness about the risks associated with purchasing such boxes from unreliable sources. With over half of the people owning an internet-connected TV, the popularity of these boxes and other cable alternatives is expected to increase. It is vital for individuals to understand the potential dangers involved and exercise caution when making such purchases.