Samsung Smart TVs Can Be Remotely Bricked If Stolen

Samsung Smart TVs Can Be Remotely Bricked If Stolen
Photo: Samsung

QLED-loving thieves, beware: Samsung revealed on Tuesday that its TVs can be remotely disabled if the company finds out they’ve been stolen, so long as the sets in question are connected to the internet.

Known as “Samsung TV Block,” the feature was first announced in a press release earlier this month after the company deployed it following a string of warehouse lootings triggered by unrest in South Africa. In the release, Samsung said that the technology comes “already pre-loaded on all Samsung TV products,” and said that it “ensures that the television sets can only be used by the rightful owners with a valid proof of purchase.”

TV Block kicks in after the user of the stolen television connects it to the internet, which is necessary in order to operate the smart TVs. Once connected, the serial number of the television pings the Samsung server, triggering a blocking mechanism that effectively disables all of the TV’s functions.

While the release only mentions the blocking function relative to the TVs that had been looted from the company’s warehouse, the protection could also ostensibly be applied to individual customers who’ve had their TVs stolen and report the device’s serial number to Samsung.

However, there’s no word so far on whether or not Samsung currently has plans to grant remote blocking capabilities to individuals who’ve had their TVs stolen and want to disable them themselves. (Odds are good that the very spectre of the idea of droves of users calling in to report that they’ve locked themselves out of their TVs is enough to give the folks over at Samsung hives.)

Should an individual’s TV be blocked by mistake, the company said, functionality can be reinstated as soon as a user is able to produce valid proof of purchase and share their TV’s licence with a “legitimate retailer.” (If you’re experiencing this, the company notes on its website that you can send those proof of purchase documents to zaservicemanager@samsung.com for assistance).