RootMyRoku can jailbreak many Roku TVs and set-top boxes
Roku recently removed the YouTube TV app from its channel store due to a disagreement with Google, preventing users from watching their favorite shows for a couple of weeks. While Google has found a way to bring back YouTube TV by cleverly embedding the service into the main YouTube app, it hasn’t come to a compromise with Roku. This may result in Roku retaliating once again, which could end up affecting your viewing experience.
If you want to avoid such issues in the future, you can choose to root your Roku device. Rooting will give you more control over what apps/channels you can install on the device, so you won’t have to worry about any such inconveniences. Rooting, or jailbreaking as it’s called by many in the Apple world, is pretty straightforward to do on an Android device. Simply unlock the bootloader and patch the boot image with a tool called Magisk that does the hard part for you. Roku devices don’t run Android, though, so the process to achieve root access/jailbreak isn’t exactly the same.
Thankfully, there’s a new root exploit that will help you do just that. According to a recent report from Engadget, the exploit used by “RootMyRoku” takes advantage of a pair of vulnerabilities found on almost all Roku TVs and some of Roku set-top boxes. According to the developers, it works on devices running RokuOS v9.4.0 build 4200 or earlier that have a Realtek Wi-Fi chip.
— /dev/null (@rmDevNull) May 18, 2021
According to the project’s GitHub page, RootMyRoku offers the following features:
- Spawns a talent server running as root on port 8023.
- Enables the low-level hardware developer mode.
- Adds many new secret screens and debug features to the main menu.
- Block channel updates, firmware updates, and all communication with Roku servers.
The last point is important to note, as it means that no new channels can be installed and certain features like “My Feed” and “Search” will no longer work. However, channels that communicate with non-Roku services (like YouTube, Netflix, or HBO) will still work.
If you’re interested in trying out the new exploit on your Roku device, simply follow the instructions mentioned on the GitHub page linked above. Do note that the exploit doesn’t work on devices running RokuOS 10, so you should check your current software version before rooting your device. To do so, head over to the System section in the device settings and select the About option. You should see your current software version on the following page.
Technical details and source code for the exploit are available on the project’s GitHub page.
Update: Roku addresses vulnerabilities in RokuOS v9.4
A Roku spokesperson reached out to us regarding the aforementioned vulnerabilities and shared the following statement:
“As part of our continuous monitoring, the Roku security team identified and addressed vulnerabilities in the Roku OS – though these vulnerabilities did not expose customer data and we did not identify any malicious activity. We always want to do everything we can to maintain a secure environment for Roku, our partners, and our users, and we therefore mitigated the vulnerabilities and updated Roku OS 9.4 with no impact to the end user experience.”
When we asked for confirmation, a Roku spokesperson explicitly told us that OS 9.4 “remediates” the vulnerability used by RootMyRoku.