Dangerous backdoor found in TCL smart TVs: DHS

Eli Cyber Security
2 min readDec 28, 2020

Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security , has recently mentioned that the agency has commanded a strict scrutiny over the security measures in Chinese-made smart TVs TCL, as well as over the alleged included in these devices: “We are reviewing TCL and entities as such”, Wolf stated.

According to Wolf, this year the Agency experts discovered that TCL has incorporated backdoors into all of its TV sets, exposing users to a wide variety of cyberattacks and data leaking incidents: “The company also gets Chinese Communist Party support to fulfill its global demand, which has constantly grown during the last years to become the third largest TV manufacturer worldwide”.

In response to these accusations, a TCL spokesperson recently mentioned that the company was fixing two security issues in its products running Android OS, previously reported by two ethical hacking specialists.

The first reported vulnerability allowed threat actors to access the file system, no password needed. The second flaw was related to a hidden feature that may have been sending screenshots and activity logs to servers based in China. This was referred to as “Chinese backdoors” by the researchers who reported the flaws.

Even though some cybersecurity specialists consider Wolf may be bluffing, the Acting Secretary mind about China and its privacy violation practices has been a constant as he previously has accused Communist Party for its supposed involvement in espionage, cyberattack, and oppression and data theft campaigns.

On the other hand, many people believe this is just another chapter of the well-known “American democracy vs. the evil” story. With little consideration on diplomatic conventions, Wolf has held a severe speech against anything related to the Asian giant: “China threatens the livehoods, prosperity and well-being of every single American”, said the Acting Secretary for the surprise of even of his collaborators.

TCL considers these statements are originated from inaccurate descriptions of the discovered flaws, leading to wrong conclusions. The company may be dealing with a severe economic measure of the U.S. Government in the near future.

Originally published at https://www.securitynewspaper.com on December 28, 2020.