The spam came from inside the house: How a smart TV can throttle a Windows PC

Zoom in / I have hundreds of UUIDs and I have to scream.

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Modern “smart” TV is what many of us ask. In exchange for connecting you to some of the streaming services you use, the TV will collect data, show ads, and serve as another vector for bad actors. However, in a few reported cases, a connected modern TV set has been blamed for attacks not on privacy, eyeballs, or passwords but on a different computer entirely.

The TV in question is a Hisense TV, and the computer is a Windows PC, specifically one that belongs to Priscilla Snow, a company Musician or musician and sound designer in Montreal, Quebec. Ha Posted about her Hisense experience It reads like a puzzle. Of course, because you already know the crime and the perpetrator, it's more like that a Colombo episode. Either way, it's a thriller in a very specific type of suspense that I can't believe has been fixed.

Settings, keyboards, remote desktops, and taskbars eventually disappear

Snow's Windows PC has encountered “some hiccups over the past couple of years,” Snow wrote on April 19. And you couldn't open the display settings, for example. The MIDI keyboard interface has stopped working. The Task Manager will start to hang until it is forcibly closed. Video capture cards had trouble connecting. As Snow points out, anyone experienced with a Windows computer that has a lot of stuff installed can mentally cross out most of this stuff, or at least hide it away until the next reinstall.

Then, while trying to figure out why the remote desktop session wasn't working, the taskbars on Snow's computer disappeared. The computer refuses to launch any settings panels. After updating the drivers and restarting the computer, the taskbars returned, but only for six days. Snow searched for solutions, and after using “exactly the right string in my search,” she found one Reddit thread Which led to Microsoft support questionall describing the same kinds of spectral-sounding problems that her computer was experiencing over time, for no apparent reason.

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User Narayan B wrote on a Microsoft forum that the problem is that Hisense TV generates “random UUIDs to detect the UPNP network every few minutes.” Windows doesn't seem to know why a device is routinely doing this, and it sees these replacement Hisense devices and adds them to it Device coupling frameOr duff. Packed with attention-grabbing devices, this service can turn off your task manager, Bluetooth, settings apps, file explorer, and more.

The fix is ​​to delete hundreds of keys from the registry. Narayan B wrote that he had noticed his Hisense TV flooding Windows device detection systems before, but he “didn't think Windows would take a loss because of this.” Snow did the same, and everything—the Task Manager, the MIDI keyboard, the Remote Desktop, even the CRT monitor she had assumed was broken—started working again.

UUID, UPNP, DAF, and hundreds of registry keys

Besides deleting hundreds of keys through obsessive keyboard pressing, Snow noted in the chats accompanying her post that she had disabled “Automatically set up networked devices” in Windows’ “Private Networking” settings. Of course, she recommends not buying the same Hisense 50Q8G she bought, or at least not having it on the same network.

The mystery has been solved, but the perpetrator is still at large. Or culprits — plural — depending on how you think a Windows PC should interact with a shape-shifting TV.

Ars has reached out to Hisense for comment and will update the post if we hear back.

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