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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Your smart TV can be hacked! Here’s how to protect it

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With the increased number of smart devices in our lives, the concern about protecting our privacy and personal data from third parties and hackers has also grown. It is why we can see that the internet is filled with several guides, blogs, and warnings about protecting our smart devices, such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc.

However, with a relatively recent warning in a blog by business insider, security concerns about smart TVs being hacked are also on the rise. More than 60% of the people in America have smart TVs in their homes, and merely one out of four smart TV consumers know about protecting their smart TVs from malware.

Smart TVs carry more Security Risks

Although we cannot even breathe without our phones these days, there are times when we put our phones away. The same is true for tablets and smart watches – people at least put them away for a while. However, smart TVs are usually the center of our households – placed in the living room or bedroom to surf endlessly and watch anything on-demand.

There is no mystery in wondering why smart TVs are at a greater risk of disclosing your data to attackers or hackers. Smart TVs have more access to your internet activity than anything else. It offers streaming apps, your phone contents, audio and video options, and what not?

Moreover, some smart TVs also have gaming, web browsing, and photo sharing options. All these amenities that come with a smart TV increase your security stakes. To further bolster your online privacy and security, consider getting a reliable VPN, like a London VPN. Without proper security measures and protocols, your smart TV is more vulnerable to malware than any other device.

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Risks Involved in not Protecting your Smart TV

Following are the risks to your smart TV without IoT security.

  • Spying via the TV’s camera

Hackers can use the camera on your smart TV to spy on you or your family, eventually misusing the information. Even if you turn off your smart TV camera, they can turn on the camera and spy if you do not have IoT security.

  • Access your social media

Hackers can also monitor and store your passwords on social media apps.

  • Modifying or deleting your files

Some hackers can do things only to annoy their targets. They can shuffle your channels or change the volume settings on your smart TV, or they can do some severe damage and tamper with your files or data.

  • Malware or virus

If you do not secure your smart TV, it is also vulnerable to malware that harms your device or retrieves information that can be sold to third parties or used in evil ways.

Improving the Security of your Smart TV

In this highly digitized era of various IoT devices becoming necessary in our daily lives, it is not fair to choose between data security and great online content. It should be easy to enjoy online watching without security threats. With the global smart TV market reaching up to $202.1 billion in 2020, we must learn how to protect our smart TVs.

  • Use stronger passwords

If you use your smart TV for everything – from online streaming to social media apps and to making calls – then every app on your smart TV should be protected by strong passwords. Choose passwords that are a mix of numbers, letters, acronyms, or random characters that you can remember. It is the first layer of securing your smart TV from malware.

  • Update the software periodically
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Skipping on software updates only because they annoy or hinder your precious watching time is not wise. Software updates come with updated security patches to match the exponential growth in technology daily.

  • Secure your router and its credentials

The foremost step in securing all your internet devices at home is to secure your router. Your router connects to every device in your home – therefore, a secure router will help provide the cybersecurity your devices need.

Change the generic admin password as soon as you start using the router. Consider the points mentioned above in setting a strong password. Moreover, use a firewall with your router as it doubles the security. Most devices come with an in-built firewall. So, if your smart TV also has a firewall, turn it on.

  • Smart TV security functions

Your smart TV must come equipped with pre-configured security settings. However, if this is not the case, you must do it manually. For instance, turn off all the options, if any, which allow sharing of the data with other providers. Also, turn off your smart TV camera and microphone when not in use.

If you do not use the smart TV camera often, it is best to have it covered by a piece of tape to be on the safe side.

  • Download only from trusted sources

You can download many apps on your smart TV. There are endless possibilities when you combine the internet with a TV. However, it is essential that you only download apps from trusted sources, such as official stores.

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Downloading from other sources might put your security at risk. Even if the need arises, it is best to check the reviews of the app and the source thoroughly before downloading. Run a background check on the developers and see if they are trustworthy or not.

Cybersecurity is not a choice

Those times are long gone when people could choose not to share any information with others. The IoT era is where your whole profile, likes and dislikes, preferences, needs, and wants are recorded by what you watch, search, or download. Ignoring measures of cybersecurity in these times is quite ignorant and dangerous. Rest assured, it will be an investment that will pay off itself in the long run.

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