Smart TVs are becoming more and more common as they are a great way to enjoy your favorite shows and movies, but many people don’t realize that they are vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Since smart TVs are connected to the internet, they can become targets for cybercriminals who use malicious software to breach the privacy and security of your device. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your smart TV safe.
So how can attackers hack your smart TV and how can you protect your smart TV from cyber attacks?
Can a smart TV be hacked?
Yes, smart TVs can be hacked by a highly skilled and advanced individual hacker or a group of hackers. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting smart TVs to gain access to personal information such as bank details, passwords and other sensitive information. In fact, every IoT device you use, such as security cameras, refrigerators, and even toasters, is vulnerable to cyber attacks and can be hacked.
While you’re watching your favorite movie or TV show on your latest smart TV, you may not be aware that cybercriminals are targeting you. Cybercriminals can use malware and other malware to take control of your device, access your personal information, and even spy on you through your TV’s webcam.
Signs that your smart TV is hacked or infected
If you suspect your smart TV has been hacked or infected with malware, there are several signs to look for. Some of these signs include:
- Unexpected pop-up ads or messages: If you see pop-ups or messages on your screen that you didn’t expect, it could be a sign of malware.
- Unresponsive remote control: If the buttons on the remote suddenly do not work as expected, and if there are no other problems such as battery drain, this may indicate that malware has infiltrated the device.
- Slow performance: If your smart TV suddenly takes longer to respond than usual, it may indicate that malware is slowing down the system.
- Unusual network activity: If you notice unusual or suspicious network activity on your smart TV, this could be a sign of malware.
- Unrecognized applications: If you start seeing programs on your smart TV that you don’t recognize installing, it indicates that a malicious program has infected the device.
- Changes to settings without your knowledge: If the settings on your smart TV, such as the background color or language, have changed without your doing anything, it indicates that something is wrong with the device.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your smart TV from cyberattacks.
1. Keep software or firmware up to date
Many users ignore software and firmware updates when it comes to smart TVs. However, it is extremely important to keep your smart TV software up-to-date as this can help protect against security vulnerabilities and other bugs. Updating your smart TV is just as important as updating smartphones and computers.
2. Secure your Wi-Fi router
Make sure you secure your Wi-Fi router. This will keep not only your smart TV safe, but also your other connected devices. Installing a virtual private network (VPN) on your router is an excellent way to secure your router and protect your smart TV from cyber attacks. A VPN will make it harder for malicious actors to access or intercept your data by ensuring that all data sent to or from your smart TV is encrypted and protected from cyber attacks.
Apart from that, use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication to further secure your router.
3. Use a secure network
When setting up your smart TV, make sure you’re using a secure network from a reputable Internet provider. Also, make sure your network is encrypted with WPA2 or other strong encryption to protect your data from being accessed by malicious actors.
4. Activate the TV’s firewall
Most modern smart TVs come with a built-in firewall. A firewall will help prevent unauthorized access to your device and make it harder for hackers to gain access to your personal information. Check and enable your smart TV’s built-in firewall option as this can help protect your device from malware and cyber attacks.
5. Disable automatic connections
When setting up your smart TV, you must turn off all automatic connections to networks or applications. This will prevent malicious actors from accessing your device without your knowledge.
6. Enter a PIN code or a password for the Smart TV
Most TVs come with a PIN or password that you can set up when you first set up the device. Remember to change this PIN or password regularly and never share it with anyone. This will help protect your smart TV from unwanted access.
7. Be careful with unknown sources
When it comes to downloading apps or streaming content on your smart TV, always exercise caution when dealing with unknown sources. You should only download programs from trusted sources and avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from websites that look shady or untrustworthy.
8. Avoid connecting to unsecured devices
Whenever possible, avoid connecting unsecured devices to your smart TVs, such as virus-infected USB drives or other devices. Unsecured devices can be a gateway for malware to gain access to your TV.
9. Be wary of unwanted pop-ups
If you receive unwanted pop-ups on your smart TV, be suspicious. These may be attempts to install malicious software or access your personal information. Always check the source of unwanted messages before taking action.
10. Limit access to your smart TV
Smart TVs come with the ability to connect other devices wirelessly with them. You should set a limit on who can access your device. Set up user accounts and passwords so that only authorized users have access to the TV. When connecting a device, check that it is secure with up-to-date security measures in place.
11. Disable unused functions
Most modern smart TVs come with a number of features that you may not need. Be sure to disable unused features as this will reduce the chances of your TV being hacked by malicious actors.
12. Monitor your Smart TV activity
Be sure to monitor your smart TV for suspicious activity. This includes keeping an eye on network activity, changes to settings, or other unusual behavior. If you see anything out of the ordinary, take immediate action to protect your device.
13. Cover the webcam of the Smart TV
One of the most important things to do is cover your webcam when you’re not using it. This will prevent anyone from seeing your activities or using the camera for malicious purposes.
14. Do not allow data collection
Many smart TVs have the ability to collect data about you and your viewing habits. You should limit this data collection by turning off all features that allow it. This will help protect your personal information from being used without your consent.
15. Always limit access with microphones or cameras
If your smart TV has a microphone or camera, be sure to limit always-on access. This will prevent malicious actors from listening in on your conversations or using the camera for malicious purposes.
Stop your smart TV from spying on you
Protecting your smart TV from cyber attacks is essential to the security of your personal information and data. While no technology is impenetrable, taking preventative measures will go a long way in ensuring that your smart TV and other smart devices are safe.