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AT&T customer says hacker is threatening family via U-verse set-top box

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An AT&T (NYSE: T) U-verse customer in Indianapolis has been receiving threats through her set-top box from an unknown hacker, reports Indianapolis Fox affiliate Fox 59.

Alana Meeks said she started seeing the threats to her and her granddaughter over a week ago, but she does not know the identity of the person.

"This stuff is uncanny. I haven't heard anything like this in my life," she told Fox 59. "He says he's a stalker."

Fred Cate, research director for the Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity, said there's only a few ways a hacker could gain access to a set-top box, including a remote control, which requires line of sight, or using an infrared repeater. A repeater can convert infrared light from a remote control to an electrical signal that could be distributed over electrical wiring to one or more components.

"Whoever did this has had to have had physical access to the apartment (or the area outside the apartment window) at some time or another," said Cate. "That access could have been as little as sticking an LED-like bulb through a ceiling or wall or in a light fixture. The LED-like bulb must have a power source; it has to be plugged in or have a connected battery pack somewhere nearby."

At this point neither AT&T nor the local authorities have figured out the identity of the perpetrator.

AT&T said in a statement that: "We take security seriously and we are working with the customer to determine the cause and remedy of the situation."

For more:
- Fox 59 has this article

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