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Cutting the cable: one dangerous box you don’t want to buy!

Cutting the cable: one dangerous box you don’t want to buy!
© Nanditha Rao | Dreamstime

There are a plethora of legitimate streaming options for budding cord-cutters out there. There are streaming sticks and boxes like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TVs.

However, there's another popular streaming software that you've probably heard about and you've always wondered if it's worth getting. There's a lot of controversy and issues surrounding this streaming program this year, prompting online shopping outlets like Amazon and eBay to completely ban sales of streaming boxes preloaded with the software.

We are talking about Kodi, of course. Read on and I'll tell you about the latest Kodi box that can pose a grave threat to your cybersecurity.

What is Kodi?

Kodi is an open source software that aggregates media including movies, music and photos from multiple online or local sources - think of it as a highly customizable media manager/player. You can install it on a variety of gadgets including computers, Android devices and a variety of streaming sticks and boxes.

Kodi in itself is perfectly legal but just like any capable streaming platform, there are many legitimate and official add-ons available for Kodi. However, due to its open source and customizable nature, add-ons or plugins from third-party sources (called repositories) can also be installed.

These third-party add-ons can then be used for watching streams of movies, TV shows, pay-per-view sports events, and music provided by questionable sources.

We warned you about the security and privacy risks of these third-party add-ons. Not only are they potential sources of copyright infringements, they can also be used to obtain records of IP addresses accessing illegal content. These records can then be used for evidence if the need for legal action arises.

Apple TV 2 Kodi

Long-time Kodi fan? Well, here's another thing you'll have to worry about.

If you own an old Apple TV 2 and jailbroke it to install Kodi on it, please be aware that it has been found to be vulnerable to hacking attacks due to a big security flaw.

The flaw puts millions of Apple TV 2 Kodi users at risk of having their jailbroken boxes used as botnets for sending spam, DDoS attacks, and for distribution of malware and pornography.

The warning comes from popular Kodi third-party add-on site TVAddons. According to the site, "If you own a jailbroken Apple TV 2 box, there's a 99.99 percent chance that you have a huge security threat sitting in the middle of your living room."

Note: If you can recall, earlier this year, TVAddons was under fire for accusations of copyright infringement and three of its domains were seized and transferred to a Canadian law firm. Additionally, TVAddons is not affiliated with the makers of Kodi.

The security risk stems from the OpenSSH protocol that's installed in every jailbroken Apple TV 2. The problem is worse because no one even bothers to change the root password "alpine" on their boxes. This means that if you have a jailbroken Apple TV 2 in your home, there's a good chance that its security is already compromised.

"Under normal circumstances, most people are aware of the need to set a strong password on their computer. However, in this circumstance, most users aren’t aware that their jailbroken Apple TV 2 is a computer that can be programmed for any purpose," TVAddons wrote. "Anyone who gains access to your insecured (sic) jailbroken Apple TV 2 device could run code to do things like send spam, DDoS, or even infiltrate your phone and personal computer."

Don't use Kodi on Apple TV 2

There are ways to protect your jailbroken Apple TV from this hack. First, change its default password. Next, disconnect it from the internet. Third, don't use it for Kodi ever. Why?

The Apple TV 2 is already labeled as an obsolete device by Apple. Kodi development and support for the Apple TV 2 also ended in January 2015 and it is considered a dead end by Kodi's developers. That means it is highly vulnerable to attacks and security issues since updates are no longer issued for both hardware and software.

This means if you see a great deal for a jailbroken Apple TV 2 preloaded with Kodi that promises "unlimited content and endless entertainment options," well, don't fall for it.

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Source: IBTimes
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