Cyberstalkers can hack into HDMI ports – FIU researchers are studying a way to detect these attacks | FIU News

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In this day and age, there’s a feeling that hackers lurk around every corner waiting to take advantage of innocent people — through the internet, your credit card, even your smart home devices. A team of FIU researchers are studying how to prevent individuals and businesses from an unsuspected vulnerability — HDMI ports.

“In the past, people didn’t know about or pay attention to the security of these devices,” said FIU Professor Selcuk Uluagac, director of the College of Engineering and Computing’s Cyber-Physical Systems Security Lab (CSL). “Anything is on the table when it comes to hacking.”

The CSL studies the intersection of the cybersecurity and privacy fields. Cyber-physical systems involve any computing device that can interact with the physical world – such as an Amazon Echo, a drone, or an Apple Watch. The goal of CSL is to find ways to make the digital infrastructure we use and interact with every day more secure against malicious activities.

The team at the CSL designed a patented solution, called HDMI-Watch, which can track HDMI hacks in real-time. It utilizes advanced machine learning algorithms, where the system learns about the typical HDMI commands that a device receives and transmits and will be able to detect abnormal ones. If the system detects abnormal commands, it will alert the user. This can make consumers aware of the attacks so that they can be stopped or prevented.

HDMI, or “High-Definition Multimedia Interface,” is a piece of common auxiliary equipment that is used to transmit audio and video. When an HDMI cord connects two or more devices – a laptop to a monitor screen, for example – that signal is thereby connected to all other networks. The monitor screen is then connected to a power outlet and to the laptop, which shares a Wi-Fi network with a smart TV, an Amazon Echo, a smartphone, an Xbox, a smart outlet which is controlled by a smartphone, and so on.

“HDMI is everywhere. What we found is that there are some configurations that are very vulnerable,” said Luis Puche, the lead author on the study who is earning a Ph.D. in the security of the Internet of Things in enterprise settings (E-IoT).

The study was published in a…

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