In an age of streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, it’s easy to forget many people watch Blu-ray Discs — and it’s even easier to overlook the technology as a potential target for malware.

At the recent Securi-Tay conference held in Scotland, a researcher from consultancy firm NCC Group presented evidence that attackers could use two vulnerabilities in common Blu-ray systems to inject malware and steal user data.

According to the firm’s blog, the NCC researcher demonstrated how a flaw in an application called PowerDVD could be breached and how an embedded system at the hardware level could potentially provide root access.

Consumers could be completely oblivious to these types of attacks, PCWorld pointed out, because those exploiting the vulnerabilities could create a Blu-ray disc that plays real content while it figures out which flaw offers the best attack vector. This is not unlike similar attempts to commit cybercrime via CDs and other forms of removable media.

Of course, Blu-ray software and hardware do come with some security safeguards, but in this case, the exploits would potentially let cybercriminals overcome Microsoft Windows’ auto-run prevention, according to TechWorm. There are other features to safeguard Blu-ray discs, but in some cases, such as PowerDVD, they may not have been updated for more than five years.

It should be pointed out that there is no sense that anyone has actually distributed malware via these Blu-ray system vulnerabilities and that what has been discovered was done through ethical hacking to educate security professionals. In fact, as SC Magazine suggested, many users of Blu-ray products may not realize the extent to which they are more digitally connected and, therefore, more open to attack.

The Register, however, noted that other ways to break into Blu-ray systems via digital rights management controls were revealed just a few months ago. Perhaps more people will pay greater attention to these types of holes. The only real prevention methods, of course, are much like those suggested for warding off cyberattacks via email: Don’t accept a Blu-ray disc that looks suspicious or comes from someone you don’t know. And, of course, you could always ditch the Blu-ray system and opt for streaming movies, instead.

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