DVB acts to prevent ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks
The DVB is updating the way it deals with interactive applications in a bid to prevent so-called ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks through smart TVs.

It follows a demonstration by a security researcher who showed it was possible for attackers to modify the broadcast signal and gain access to smart TVs. They could then gain access to TV features such as its camera, microphone, and potentially other devices connected to the set. The new version will provide additional security to interactive solutions like the HbbTV specification, which relies heavily on TS 102 809.

Commenting on the action by the DVB Steering Board, DVB Chairman, Peter MacAvock said: “Although ‘Man-in-the-Middle’ attacks have been demonstrated, there is little real-world evidence of such attacks. Even so DVB acknowledges the potential risks, and has moved to address these with a comprehensive and appropriate specification to re-assure consumers and industry alike. ”

The updated specification enables broadcasters to add authentication information to the signalling of their interactive services. In essence, the television receiver learns the legitimate transmission on each channel and will then identify and reject any subsequent tampering. This provides an extra layer of defence for TV sets and their owners in addition to manufacturers’ activities to improve their products security.