Google TV is the most advanced and efficient operating system that Google offers for a Smart TV or TV Box. However, Android TV still has a huge market share and is highly popular among users. One of the reasons is the wide availability of Android TV devices. There is a wide range of cheap smart TVs and boxes running Android TV. However, it appears that not all boxes are running a verified or safe version of the operating system. Therefore, Google is issue a attention for all users of modest cheap TV boxes.
Google warns users about unverified TV boxes
The search giant has issued important advice to Android TV users to ensure their set isn’t a sketchy fake full of malware. Experts in the field recently revealed that several popular streaming boxes are not quite what they seem. Although these devices are not manufactured by Google, they come with Google apps pre-installed.
The danger is explained
Two security researchers, independent of each other, discovered Android TV devices using malware to connect to command and control servers to ultimately deliver a “clickbait” payload. According to the report, this is where perpetrators earn revenue by clicking ads in the background. This is called ad click fraud. A compromised Android TV device joins with others, without the user’s consent, to become part of a botnet that can run across thousands of TV boxes.
TechCrunch reported that several cheap and very popular Android TV devices sold online were found to have pre-installed malware capable of launching coordinated cyberattacks. Brands are hard to track down, but these devices feature popular Chinese chips from Rockchip and Allwinner. Some TV boxes with chips such as the AllWinner T95Max, RockChip X12 Plus and RockChip X88 Pro 10 used firmware infected with malware.
The search giant has already spoken about the issue after receiving many questions from affected users. Google says some boxes have been falsely advertised to look like Android TV OS. However, in some cases these sketchy TV boxes just run plain Android. Manufacturers are doing a “makeover” to look like a regular Android TV OS. The big problem is that these devices are not certified for Play Protect. This means that the operating system and applications can be considered insecure, especially when it comes to banking attack threats.
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What is Play Protect and why is it so important?
“User security and device privacy is a top priority for the Android TV OS ecosystem,” Google said. The company continues; “That’s why we’re working with our partner to ensure that Android TV OS devices adhere to strict security and privacy rules. They must go through extensive testing to ensure quality and consumer safety. These devices are Play Protect certified, which means they come with Google’s built-in malware protection that keeps your device, apps and data safe”.
How to check if my TV BOX works with Android TV?
To prevent users from falling for these tricks, the search giant warns users to check Website for Android TV. From there, they will be able to see if their device manufacturer is on the approved list. Additionally, they can check if their box is certified by Play Protect.
How do I check if my Android TV Box is Play Protect certified?
To make sure your TV Box is protected and certified by Play Protect, you just need to head over to the Google Play Store.
- Open PlayStore on your TV Box
- Click the profile icon in the upper right corner
- Find Play Protect and look for the heading titled “Play Protect Certification”.
- From there, you will be able to determine if your device is certified or not.
If your device is not Play Protect certified, we recommend that you contact the manufacturer and look for a fully tested Play Protect certified device,” Google said.
Obviously, if you have a cheap TV box from a sketchy brand, you probably won’t have much luck asking for a Play Protect certified device. However, the steps will be useful to ensure that you do not continue to use a device that does not meet the necessary security requirements.