Educause Security Discussion
mailing list archives
Re: Chromecast devices?
From: Brian Helman <bhelman () SALEMSTATE EDU>
Date: Fri, 4 Oct 2013 04:26:58 +0000
I bought a couple of these to play around with. When in use, it's a relatively quiet device. When not in use, it
beacons quite a bit. From a Networking viewpoint, I am not liking what I am seeing.
You are correct about the (lack of) security. I read last week that Google will be pushing a code update out to the
units over the next few weeks. If your (or your students') units are able to access the Internet, they will get the
update automatically. Unlike the AppleTV or GoogleTV, you have no access to a Systems menu to force the upgrade.
We have 2000 resident students. The last scan I performed found 120 unauthorized wireless devices in our res halls
(routers, myfi's, wireless printers, apple/googleTV's). We are starting to crack down on these. It's a losing battle,
but every little bit helps. And yes, at $35 the ChromeCasts are going to pop up. Luckily it looks like the only way
to get them right now is from Google, so they aren't quite as convenient to acquire as the other devices.
FYI my device has not yet updated. I may reset it to see if it forces an upgrade.
From: The EDUCAUSE Security Constituent Group Listserv [SECURITY () LISTSERV EDUCAUSE EDU] on behalf of Joe St Sauver
[joe () OREGON UOREGON EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 1:11 PM
To: SECURITY () LISTSERV EDUCAUSE EDU
Subject: Re: [SECURITY] Chromecast devices?
#Chromecast a cheap device that plugs into your TV and allow you to stream
#content from your computer or mobile device to your TV. We have students
#who have purchased these devices.
#My concern is that as soon as you plug a Chromecast device into your TV,
#anyone who has the Chromecast software (free download) can play content
#on your TV (even harassing content or porn).
I was given one of these as a gift by a family member. (Thanks, son!)
The model obviously expects you to be operating in a closed personal
WiFi network, e.g., Ye Olde Family WiFi Private Network.
That "residential deployment model" expects that if Junior or Sissy
injects unacceptable content onto the family Chromecast, "surprising"
the family, Mom or Dad will detect the miscreant involved and discipline
them, likely by confiscating their system or revoking their access to
the family network until that pesron has Gotten the Message (as my
long departed parents used to describe it, way back when).
Clearly this is not a terrific access control model if you've got
500 random people connected to an unsegmented ResHall wireless
network, and of course, most schools aren't very happy if students
attempt to "deal with the issue" by running their own private WiFi
network, subordinate to their institutional connections, either.
A more sophisticated device pairing and authentication model is
obviously needed (but hey, we're talking a $35 device, right?)
I will also add that I'd love to see more specific release notes.
For example, mid September, Chromecast devices got build 13300.
That build included "Security fixes" (see
but, unfortunately, I've not been able to find any additional information
about what those specific "security fixes" actually involved. Anyone