Gone are the days of digital and cable Tv, nowadays when talking about Tv you are likely to come across these words; cord-cutting. This essentially means that you no longer use a cable to watch TV, why pay expensively when you can get the same services online cheaply or for free. And when talking about online, Netflix and other related services will quickly come into your mind. To enjoy the online Tv, you will, however, need a smart TV. No one wants to hinder mobility by using HDMI cables anymore. If you can’t afford a smart Tv, there’s also another awesome alternative. Getting a smart Tv box and related devices. The most common ones are Android Tv boxes, they are most popular due to one application, Kodi – that gives you a plethora of access to Tv content.
But with the enjoy of cord-cutting, there comes a new security risk that is associated with the use of the internet.
A smart TV forms part of your home’s network of the Internet of Things. By connecting to the internet, your smart Tv is vulnerable to internet threats such as viruses. It gets worse if you use your smart Tv for other services other than Tv such as login into apps, websites and services that mostly require your credentials and use the browser. These activities elevate the risk further as it attracts hackers and attackers. By hacking, sensitive information from your smart Tv can be used to compromise other secure devices through credentials.
For instance, not long ago that researchers discovered an exploit in Samsung TVs; the Zero-day exploit which made them vulnerable. What makes it worse, there are less smart Tv security experts, so a hacker can exploit a vulnerability for a long period without no one noticing until when massive damage has been done.
Smart Tv vulnerabilities can help hackers get a lot of information. They can also perform a number of functionalities which will, in turn, give way for other vulnerabilities such as blackmailing, ransomware and other internet threats. i.e. hackers and attackers can do the following on your Tv;
- take control of your Tv by the remote control too.
- Activating the microphone
- enabling the webcam and spy on you
- stealing info from installed apps
- accessing and stealing data from connected devices such as USB sticks.
- Gaining access to account numbers, passwords and browser activities.
- access data on any memory stick that’s connected to the TV
- locking the TV and demand a ransom
The above risks should make you rethink if your Tv isn’t secure given that smart Tv’s are on the rise than before. So, before more hackers join and start hacking the televisions, ensure that you take the risks into consideration.
More Cybersecurity issues for Everyone
Since smart TVs are connected to your home network and share the same internet connection, it may be the gate for malware and botnets to infect your other devices. But also, not so many people own other smart devices, let’s say just a laptop, a smartphone and the smart Tv. In this case, the risk might be widespread. A hacker might get into your computer via your smart Tv and the use your computer to spread malware. At the moment, it has been forecasted that there will be millions of smart TVs worldwide. With this growth, more tv malware will be spreading.
Take care of your smart Tv box
Like said earlier, any tv which is not smart can be made smart by use of tv boxes. These boxes are like small versions of computers since they run on an operating system. They can also access the internet as well as allow connection of external devices such as flash drives. They also have an app store for downloading apps and can almost do every smart thing your smartphone does. This means that the boxes are susceptible to security risks and are vulnerable to internet threats and attacks.
If you have one, ensure you have the correct measures. Even if you have a firewall, ensure you can also protect them from insider threats such as the ones brought by external flash drives.
Easy steps to protect Your Smart TV
Cybersecurity risks are devastating if they occur. As much we protect other computing systems, ensure that you have protected your tv with these simple steps.
- Limit online activity – If you want to access sensitive information such as finance, work and so on, do yourself some justice and avoid using the tv. That’s why we have laptops and smartphones.
- Use a security app – every smart Tv has access to an app store. If the app store lacks a security app, sideload one. This will protect against file based vulnerabilities.
- Disconnect your TV – when you are done watching your tv, and you don’t use it anymore, turn it off or disconnect from the internet. In reality, if you are not using any of the features that require an internet connection, disconnect it from the internet.
- Take caution when installing apps – what causes most security risks in smartphones are the apps. Likewise, the smart Tv can also fall victim of rogue apps which ask permissions which they don’t need. Before installing one, check the reviews of other users and do a little research about the particular app.
- Avoid the use of external storage drives – even in computers, malware and other viruses enter the systems through memory sticks and flash drives. If you must use one of those, have a dedicated one that you can scan now and then to get rid of any malware.
If your smart tv is not protected, just know that there’s an inherent vulnerability that’s waiting to happen. Most smart TVs don’t use secure protocols when connecting to the internet, and this is what makes them vulnerable. For privacy and security purses, ensure you have the correct security measures.