Thoughts on smart TVs: A growing security risk

In recent years, consumers have seen everything from lighting to refrigerators to heating systems becoming “smart”. In fact, there are now more smart items on the planet than humans, with an estimated 13.4 billion devices currently connected to the Internet. However, with the rise in smart devices, the issue of cyberattacks on these devices to gain access to your personal networks begins to become more of a concern.

In particular, Smart TVs are opening a new window of attack for cybercriminals. According to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), about 46% of U.S. households are using Smart TV sets, and that figure is expected to increase beyond 50% by the end of the year. The CTA predicts that about 70% of TVs sold this year will have internet connectivity. With such an increase of Smart TVs, many experts are trying to protect consumers against hacking attempts.

Issue with Smart TVs

Smart TVs are basically computers, with USB ports, operating systems and networking capabilities no different than smartphones. However, unlike cellphones and computers, smart TVs don’t require any authentication. Attacks are made possible through the device’s ability to run source codes for applications and its unsecured connection to the internet. Additionally, since most attacks have been concentrated around smartphones and computers, most security options are limited to these, leaving other internet-capable devices (like Smart TVs) neglected. This can be a welcome invitation that hackers will definitely take advantage of.

Solutions

Though your Smart TV is more susceptible than other devices to hackers, there are some preventative measures recommended by Tech Times that  you can take:

  • Keep your device’s firmware updated and install the latest patches from developers as soon as these become available.
  • Always check the manual, features and settings for any option that may be another term for data-mining.
  • Never perform bank-related activities on your Smart TV. Use a secure smartphone or computer instead.
  • Perform malware scans on a regular basis to keep off harmful threats.
  • Set up separate networks for your Smart TV and personal gadgets to keep intruders from easily accessing your devices.
  • Cover the camera when not in use to avoid any unwelcome viewing from third parties.
  • Do not hastily click on messages that display on screen unless these are from a reliable and trusted source.

These solutions don’t necessarily guarantee 100% protection, however, by following these steps and remaining vigilant you can greatly reduce your Smart TV’s risk to a cyberattack. Do you own a Smart TV? Have you had any security issues? Share your thoughts below!

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UMSA Org About UMSA Org

UMSA (Upper Midwest Security Alliance) is an alliance of security and risk-related organizations. As a nonprofit founded in 2004, UMSA serves business, government and education professionals in the upper Midwest, collaborating with professional associations, educators and industry-leading companies to provide professional development opportunities that contribute to a stronger security foundation for organizations.

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