There can certainly be no way this could be abused
Samsung’s solution for major theft of their TVs has revealed a hitherto unknown feature on their products called TV Block, the ability to remotely place their products. When the TV is connected to the Internet, Samsung is able to determine the serial number of the TV and, as it has become apparent, can use a tool called TV Block to disable all functions on that Samsung TV. Although this is a fairly convenient means of deterring theft, it raises several concerns.
When a theft is reported to a provider, they can use the IMEI to block any access to their network from the stolen device, and if you are lucky, they will share that IMEI with other providers. This block does not prevent the phone from functioning independently, but only the possibility of connecting to a common network. This feature on Samsung TVs is more like Apple’s control of iPhones with the Find my iPhone feature enabled, making it impossible for anyone to use the device until the user releases the device from their AppleID.
There is a difference between these two examples and the TV block on Samsung TVs, which is a concern for some who watch things like this. This feature has been a secret for consumers so far, which is quite a different story from the well-known block on iPhone devices. Block awareness allows you to react if someone manages to reach your AppleID and block your phone’s connection, and instructions on how to recover your account have been posted in a number of places online; something that Samsung’s secrecy has ensured is inaccessible to their customers.
Another concern comes about the security of this TV Block feature and the likelihood that someone might gain access to it and use the ransom demand access from the owner of the Samsung TV. A little effort could allow someone to block an IMEI on a device they don’t own, but the device would remain functional, and as with Apple, there are instructions posted by various providers on how to prove proof of ownership and regain network access. With Samsung TV Block, your device will be completely useless and if Samsung has managed to regain control of its tool to reactivate your TV, it is unclear whether it will be able to reactivate you remotely.
Hopefully we won’t see reports that Samsung TV owners are threatened to start allowing their machines to mine cryptocurrencies or that their TV will be disabled in the near future.
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