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The dangers of smart TV hacking and how to avoid them


There’s something scary about having your TV hacked. It’s such an intimate part of your domestic environment.

Could some cyber thief really steal your bank and credit card details while you’re sitting there catching up on your favorite Netflix series?

As with all devices connected to the internet, the answer is yes.

In fact, the FBI has warned that your smart TV can provide hackers with access to all your private data, with all the personal and financial trouble that brings.

So what can you do to ensure cyber criminals aren’t using your TV to rob or spy on you?

Buy wisely

Before purchasing a smart TV, research the different makes and models on offer to determine their level of security, before you decide which one is for you.

  • What kind of operating system does the set work on?
  • What kind of cyber protection does the manufacturer provide?
  • Is it compatible with anti-hacking and other security software (e.g. VPNs) you can buy?
  • Are there any cases of this make or model being hacked or compromised in the past?

Let’s face it, you want to be sure you’re not taking home $1000 worth of security problems.

Get a VPN

A VPN location changer provides vital protection for your TV against hacking and spying. It encrypts your data, making it unreadable to anyone who gains access to it (even your internet service provider). This way, your passwords are safe.

In addition to that, it safeguards you against internet throttling by your ISP, thus ensuring your data always loads quickly and your TV picture quality is never compromised.

The process of installing a VPN depends on what type of TV or router you have. Follow the instruction manual carefully.

Old software, new cyberthreat – always update!
“Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?” is not a good motto when it comes to cybersecurity. Software updates are put there for a reason, and most of them are designed to patch up breaches that would allow access to your device.

Make sure all apps on your TV have the latest updates and patches as soon as they are available. There are countless cases of hackers and cybercriminals grabbing that window of opportunity given to them by users who postpone security updates.

Passwords: Be savvy, be safe

Passwords can be the keys to your device, your data, and your money – yes, even the one you use for your TV. You wouldn’t keep all your worldly goods in a safe that can be opened with a matchstick. That’s what it’s like having weak passwords. 

  • Ensure yours is something that can’t be guessed. It should be a combination of letters, numbers and other characters.
  • Make sure your TV password is not the same as for any other device or account. Hackers love people with only one password.
  • You need strong passwords for both the TV and router. This is what connects the TV and all other devices in your house to the internet.

And, while you’re at it, if you can have a wired rather than a Wi-Fi connection from your router to your TV, do so. A wired connection (ethernet cable) is much harder to hack.

Wait – is that camera on?

One of the creepiest things a hacker can do is activate your camera and mic, so they can see and record everything you do in view of your TV. 

This can be complicated by the fact that many smart TVs use the camera for face recognition, in order to identify the viewer and suggest material they might like. 

Fortunately, this kind of hacker-spying is rare. But it can have such traumatic consequences for the victim that it’s best to be absolutely sure it can’t happen to you. For complete peace of mind, you could just simply cover the camera and disable the mic when you’re not using them.

Conclusion

Smart TVs now account for more than half of all sets bought, and the numbers are rising sharply. 

So, even if you don’t yet have one, you probably will. More and more TV entertainment is web-based. An old type of set may soon be as obsolete as a black-and-white model.

With the above security measures in place, you don’t have to be afraid of your TV. Hacking is preventable. Taking these precautions will ensure safe and relaxed viewing.