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Top Story: Ransomware hitting TV models that could be in your home right now

Top Story: Ransomware hitting TV models that could be in your home right now

A few months back, we warned you about a ransomware variant that is infecting Google TVs.

The malware called Frantic Locker (Flocker), locks Android-based Google TV smart television sets with a "Cyber Police" warning that demands that you pay the fine of $200 worth of iTunes gift card codes or "the case file is transferred to the court."

Well, it looks like Flocker is still wreaking havoc.

On Christmas Day, software engineer Darren Cauthon's old LG Google TV was apparently attacked by another variant of Flocker ransomware, which slipped through via a rogue movie app downloaded by his wife. This version of the malware locked his set with an "FBI" notice that demanded $500 in payment.

Cauthon posted the tweet below showing the infected TV and the post was eventually picked up by LG.

According to Cauthon, LG tech support contacted him but instead of giving him factory reset instructions, they advised him to contact a service center for repair. That would have cost him a hefty $340 charge.

Fortunately, LG contacted him again a few days later and gave him the factory reset instructions for his TV.

LG's factory reset fix

Cauthon detailed his experience and shared the LG Google TV factory reset sequence via a YouTube video (embedded below.)

To reset the LG TV, these are the steps he provided:

 "When the TV is powered off, place one finger on the settings, then another finger on Channel Down, then release Settings then release Channel Down."

This sequence done on the main TV buttons (not on the remote) boots the TV straight to the LG TV's Android Recovery Menu. To factory reset the TV, he selected the "wipe data/factory reset" option.

How to prevent your TV from getting infected

The LG sets running Google TV are the 47-inch 47G2 and the 55-inch 55G2, both released in 2012.

Aside from LG sets, Google TV software, although discontinued in 2014, still runs on quite a few older smart TV models from the likes of Sony and Vizio. (Google TV was superseded by Android TV.)

Frantic Locker was first reported to spread via spam text messages and malicious web links. To avoid getting your Google TV infected, be careful when visiting websites using the built-in TV web browser. Additionally, checking email and clicking unknown links through your TV can also put it at risk.

However, in Cauthon's case, it appears that his TV was infected by a rogue app. It goes without saying, please refrain from downloading and installing apps from unofficial and unknown app sources.

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