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eBlocker Labs: Smart TVs

eBlocker Labs: Smart TVs
| Farena

The Problem:
Smart devices are trending and being consumed in almost every household. Why should you bother caring about your privacy while watching TV anyways? But not many people are aware of the fact that profile data’s are not only created through the internet, but through smart devices as well. That’s why we carried out a study that confirms that data about every user behavior is tracked and send to third parties, without notice.

The Analysis
We tested the latest Samsung Series5 Smart TV from the year 2016 (UE40K5579) as well as the latest Loewe One 40 smart-TV (5640W72) and the Philips smart-TV Series7100 (49PUS7181/12). The german smart-TVs were tested like usual television devices in different cases. The eBlocker was used to protocol and analyze the http-/https.requests, send from the smart-TV. With this analysis the eBlocker is able to stop the requests being sent to trackers and thus profile building is prevented actively.

The Result
Depending on the manufacturer of the smart-TV, data is tapped with different intensities. While the Samsung device sends encrypted data to manufacturer-domains regularly- sometimes even while the TV is shut down, the devices of Philips and Loewe performed much better, because of their manufacturer, in regards to data tracking. However, many requests are sent from all tested smart-TVs to commercial providers like Netflix, Maxdome, TV-digital, Ampya and more. It doesn’t matter if the user has an according app on the device or even an account for one of these providers.

It can be noted that the latest smart-TVs in their standard settings sent data’s to third provider, which are useful for user profiling of the viewing behavior. Especially TV-channels that provide hbb TV are able to create userprofiles from channel to channel if there is no additional protection provided.

The Solution
That’s when the latest version of the eBlocker gets involved:

it already protects you from data tapping, while using hbbTV. hbbTV usually benefits from trackers that are already known to the eBlocker. A creation of userprofiles can thus be prevented already.

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