Smart TVs connected to the Internet have become indispensable in many living rooms. But few people think about personal security when using Smart TV. In addition to useful features, there are also potential vulnerabilities and methods of transferring personal data to third parties.
Smart TV: what dangers are there?
Televisions connected to the Internet, or Smart TVs, transfer the functions of a computer or smartphone to the living room. With their help, you can not only watch TV programs and movies, but also surf the Internet, download applications and even make video calls. Therefore, such devices, as well as computers, can become the target of espionage or the introduction of malicious software. On the one hand, there is a risk of hackers attacking poorly protected systems or HbbTV (the successor of teletext), on the other hand, unwanted disclosure of user data to producers or television stations. Although there are currently no signs of major cyber attacks on smart TVs, the following protective measures are recommended.
Note. Set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and game consoles often have features similar to Smart TV. A cautious approach to online functions is recommended.
Smart TV protection – that’s how it works
- Install updates regularly: update your Smart TV software. Install automatically available updates or find the update function on your device. Unfortunately, after a certain time, many manufacturers no longer provide software updates. Any security vulnerabilities may remain open on Smart TV.
- 2. Disable webcams and microphones: some smart TVs offer webcams or voice control. Turn off cameras and microphones or turn off voice controls so you don’t have to watch or hear yourself.
- Disable HbbTV – teletext successor. On most TVs, this offer is activated by pressing the red button. The receiver is used to obtain information about the current program or additional content. However, HbbTV also transmits television usage data to television stations. It can also be considered a potential target for hackers to get data. HbbTV can be disabled in the Smart TV settings menu.
- Install applications only from trusted sources. Use only the app store of the device manufacturer.
- Use the Smart TV browser as rarely as possible: in many cases, the Smart TV browsers built into the TV are not updated as often as the more popular ones, so important security technologies may be missing. First of all, avoid sensitive areas such as online banking.
- Avoid entering confidential information: when viewing through Smart TV, enter passwords or addresses as rarely as possible.
- Disconnect the Internet: certainly the safest, but perhaps the most unpopular method. An Internet connection is not necessary if you only watch TV programs. In this case, the risk of security vulnerabilities or data disclosure is almost nil. If you want to use online applications, you can connect to the Internet and then disconnect after using it.
And so, absolute security is achieved only if you turn off the Internet. Of course, it is difficult to come to terms with a significant loss of comfort, as smart TVs are popular due to their online features. But if you follow the above tips and get acquainted with the settings of the TV, you can, despite your Internet connection, calmly go to watching TV.