Apple Hacks Users’ TVs

Well isn’t this interesting. Details are slim, and this may yet prove to be false, but first reports are that Apple seems to be accessing users’ AppleTVs without notice or permission to disable user installed software and cripple the devices the users’ purchased. If I wasn’t already convinced I wasn’t going to buy an AppleTV, this would do it. Frankly, if this proves to be true, it will make me think twice about buying Macs.

When are manufacturers get it through their thick skulls that they do not own the machine after the customer hands over the cash and takes it out of the store?

7 Responses to “Apple Hacks Users’ TVs”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    “Details are slim” = “not a shred of evidence”.

    Why assume that it’s Apple who’s doing the cracking, if indeed any cracking is being done? There are plenty of other badhats in the world. Anyhow, the alternate theory of a cron job inside the box is far more likely. But just watch: based on the original posting and your rather inflammatory headline, the echo chamber will now build up a huge case against Apple.

  2. Stefan Tilkov Says:

    I believe the reports are bullshit. It would illegal in my country’s jurisdiction, for instance, and I imagine this is true elsewhere as well.

  3. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    It may be a cron job. If so, it should be easy enough to find and identify (though it would be easier if it hadn’t disabled ssh). However, that’s still a hack. A user installed software on the box they owned, and Apple’s software didn’t like it and removed it. One more time: after the sale, the device belongs to the person who buys it, not the person who sells it.

  4. Paul Says:

    Wow, Elliotte, you just said it should be easy to find out what the Apple TV is doing if it’s a chron job, but then go right back to assuming that Apple is hacking the box without a shred of evidence.

    How about, maybe instead of assuming things and then taking positions based on the assumptions, people should first investigate the issue first and come up with some evidence before taking positions?

    Seems like the simple accusation of “conspiracy!” is enough evidence for most minds these days.

  5. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:


    You didn’t understand me. I don’t care whether Apple hacked the box by coming in through the router (more likely going out through the router) or hacked the box by a preinstalled cron job. It’s still a hack and they’re still removing programs the user installed without the user’s permission. Is a rootkit not a rootkit if it comes preinstalled on the computer?

    The bottom line is that users have the right to modify the hardware and software that they have purchased if they so choose. The vendor should not prevent them from doing so, and vendors that attempt this should be penalized.

  6. pauldwaite Says:

    > “users have the right to modify the hardware and software that they have purchased if they so choose. The vendor should not prevent them from doing so”

    Then all the users have to do is get rid of the cron job. Sheesh.

    My MacBook Pro removes old log files without my permission so that my hard drive doesn’t fill up. That could conceivably clobber me if I do unexpected things. I doubt Apple have a “annoyHackers” cron job, they just didn’t keep hackers in mind when designing it. I’d heard that hackers like a challenge, so I’m guessing it’ll turn out okay.

  7. Don Says:

    Problem solved.

    Just a watchdog, as I suspected all along.

    Considering the AppleTV for what it is, not what it can be hacked to become, this is completely sensible.

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