In our day and age, everything can be hacked. Facebook accounts, your hospital records, or your messaging app. The more recent hacking methods seem like something you’d see in a sci-fi movie, like hacking your car or your microwave. Researchers at Def Con presented a way to hack the pixels of the monitor to display misinforming visual input.
How Is the Monitor Hacking Possible?
The hacking was discovered by researchers from Red Balloon Security. The method is achieved by accessing the monitor’s HDMI or USB port. After that, the monitor is open to all sorts of attacks, like viruses and malware. The issue is with firmware. As the hack isn’t widely used, monitor manufacturing companies haven’t developed security to combat it. Red Balloon Security tested the security exploit on a Dell monitor. The hack isn’t limited to that brand of monitors, however.
It can also be used for pixel logging, similar to keyboard logging, recording anything that gets displayed on the monitor.
It isn’t an easy hack to pull, as it requires physical access to the monitor. The Red Balloon researches took two years to uncover it. The people behind the discovery are Ang Cui, the CEO of Red Balloon Security and Jatin Kataria, a principal scientist in the company.
How can you Hack Hardware?
In our times, TVs, cars, fridges and other useful items from our day-to-day life can do a lot of cool things that weren’t viable in the past, like setting your machine to make your morning cup of coffee exactly at 7 o’clock. This is done with the help of software algorithms and commands. While this is very convenient and can improve daily life immensely, it also opens the door to hacking, as the case with the Dell monitor shows. The risk increases if the device is connected to the internet. Hacking of Smart—TVs is already happening. Aс the automobile industry becomes more digitized, we’re certain to see a new breed of carjackers.
The risks of hacking your household items aren’t just limited to switching your TV channels while you’re making popcorn or ruining your printer’s paper. Hacked house items can be used as a door to other cyber-threats. Hacking your computer’s monitor can be used to spread ransomware or other viruses to your system, or to spy on your activities.
How To Protect Your Device
Monitor manufacturers should take a deeper interest in putting cyber-security measures in their products. This particular way of hacking should be dealt with as soon as possible, before it becomes mainstream. As it requires direct access to the device, users are advised to watch out gets plugged into their HDMI or USB ports.