The latest generation of TVs and set-top boxes are at risk of virus infection unless manufacturers take steps to build in protection, says Ocean Blue Software (OBS). The UK-based company, which develops TV application software, says the majority of new TVs and set-top boxes that allow for connection to the Internet will be exposed to viruses never before associated with TVs and set-tops.

"Almost any TV based product with a processor, enough memory and an Internet connection is at risk," said Ken Helps, founder and CEO of OBS, in a statement. "Owners can access any Internet address and potentially download anything."?

Although every TV and set-top box is different, most connected systems now use Linux and widely available software packages such as graphics engines and codecs, according to OBS. Opening up digital TV receivers to PC-centric technologies means that anyone can author the content, and with an increasing proliferation of pay-per-view services, personal details, such as credit card information, will be stored within TVs and set-top boxes.

Ocean Blue is developing Neptune software, a firewall for its DVB core, but warns this will provide only rudimentary protection. "TVs do not have sufficient power to run full anti-virus protection," added Helps. "We have the technology to link our software to a cloud-based AV service that can provide AV scanning before downloads reach the TV set. That would solve the processing issue, and ensure protection was always up to date."

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