Google’s Chromecast is a tiny dongle with big potential, letting you stream internet content from Netflix, iPlayer and far beyond straight to your television. Or at least it does if some berk hasn’t hijacked it and started playing Rick Astley 24 hours a day.
As a proof of concept for potential security holes in Chromecast (and, of course, for the LOLz), security consultant Dan Petro built the ‘Rickmote Controller’. At the push of a button (the one with Rick’s face on it), any Chromecast in range will start playing Rick Astley’s 1987 smash hit single, Never Gonna Give You Up.
Built from the low-cost Raspberry Pi motherboard, as used in many school computing classes, the Rickmote bombards any Chromecast in range with disconnect requests, severing it from your WiFi network. It’s then a simple matter for the box to interrupt the current video playing and take over the television. While Petro chose to reference the ageing ‘Rickroll’ meme from seven years ago, he could theoretically pipe almost any online content to the screen.
In truth, it’s not a massive security flaw: you need special hardware and close proximity to take over the screen. Still, this man Petro must be stopped. We refuse to have this song stuck in our head for another seven years.