Sep 9, 2019

Netflix and Chromecast bug lets jerks crash your television

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A glitch in software designed by Netflix in 2013, used in early versions of Google Chromecast and installed in several mid-decade televisions and other devices would allow an attacker to crash a TV, according to new research from security firm ForAllSecure.

The big picture: Netflix's DIAL software allowed people to broadcast video from a phone or computer onto their television and was an early component of Chromecast until Google moved that software in a different direction. Though the software is now obsolete, many TVs came preinstalled with DIAL.

The discovery was made by 2 interns at ForAllSecure completing an assignment to use the company's Mayhem automated security analysis software to analyze open source software.

  • The interns turned the glitches over to Netflix through a "bug bounty" program, where Netflix offers cash rewards to researchers who uncover security flaws in its products. Netflix has now patched the bug.
  • The interns will get to keep the bounty, co-founder and CEO David Brumley told Axios.
    • “You’ve got to motivate interns to stay in security somehow,” he said.

Details: The DIAL glitch comes from an error in how data is stored in computer memory in a modified version of a coding library known as Mongoose.

  • It’s not immediately clear if the glitch affects other products using Mongoose around the same time, noted Brumley.

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A whole new world for Netflix

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Seinfeld is coming to Netflix in 2021

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Why it matters: Landing the 180-episode series is a win for Netflix, which recently lost streaming rights to fan favorite sitcoms "Friends" and "The Office." Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the rights are for worldwide distribution, the Los Angeles Times first reported.

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Streamers go to war over marketing

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

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Why it matters: TV networks, hardware companies and telecom giants control access to some of the biggest audiences for new products, but they want to use that reach to benefit their own streaming offerings and stymie the competition.

Go deeperArrowOct 7, 2019