In 2018, nearly 70% of all new televisions sold were Smart TVs. That number is only expected to rise as more people move away from traditional broadcast and cable programs and embrace platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and countless others.
Smart TVs are amazing for their convenience and functionality. In some ways, they are a lot like computers. You can browse the internet, watch YouTube, and visit social media. However, they do not have the same level of security as a regular computer does. This makes them vulnerable to attacks. Here are some of the ways Smart TVs can be hacked and what you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Internet Connection is the Problem
Like every other device, Smart TVs face security problems because they are connected to the internet. Hackers can easily gain remote access and use this to steal login credentials, personal information, and even credit card details. This is especially true if you use the default TV browser because it doesn’t have the same security options as Chrome or Firefox, for example.
In fact, the biggest Smart TV scandal involved Samsung TVs, which researchers found to be highly susceptible to digital threats. Hackers gained access to the TV without users ever noticing it. Some even went even further and did things like:
- Using webcams to spy on people
- Harvesting data from apps
- Controlling the TV remotely
- Accessing passwords and account info
- Stealing info stored on memory sticks
- Turning on microphones and listening to conversations
Nobody wants these things to happen to them. Therefore, it’s essential for users to take security measures into their own hands.
How to Protect Your Smart TV
One of the biggest downsides of Smart TVs is that they don’t have frequent updates and patches like apps and operating systems do. As a result, they are inherently much more vulnerable to data breaches. Before you do anything else, make sure you never pair all of your devices with your Smart TV. So even if hackers gain access to your TV, they won’t be able to get into your phone or tablet.
Install a VPN
At this point, you should be running a VPN on all of your devices, not just your Smart TV. A virtual private network jis encrypts your internet connection while also hiding your IP address. This makes your TV much more difficult for hackers to access. If your TV is Android-based, you should be able to download a VPN app on it. If not, you can install one on your router, which has the added benefit of protecting all devices connected to it.
Take Advantage of Security Software
Download security and antivirus software from the app store. There are several free and affordable options. They will not only scan the TV for malware but also prevent anything like that from ever being downloaded.
Choose Your Apps Well
Most apps are perfectly safe. However, sometimes hackers disguise malware as apps so they can gain access to your smart TV. Take a few minutes to read app reviews and check around online before downloading anything.
Unplug from the Internet
There’s no reason for your Smart TV to be connected to the internet if you’re not using it. Disable the network connection or turn the TV off completely when not in use.
Avoid the Default Browser
Just because you can browse the internet on your Smart TV, doesn’t mean you should. If you need to enter any sensitive information, like log into your bank account or use your credit card to paying bills, use a computer or smartphone instead. These have built-in security functions to protect your personal data.
Keeping Your Smart TV safe from Hackers
Smart TVs are great and convenient devices. With them, you get everything you need in one box. You can enjoy traditional TV broadcasts, cable and satellite, and all the amazing online streaming platforms. However, it’s important you know how to prevent cybersecurity threats.
Start by downloading a VPN to encrypt your internet connection. From here, make sure you run malware and virus scans. Finally, avoid using your Smart TV for any sensitive transactions. This way you’ll keep your TV safe from digital threats and always ready for you to enjoy the best of what’s on.