How to tell if your Smart TV has been hacked

How to tell if your Smart TV has been hacked

October 2, 2023 privacy 0
Smart TVs are vulnerable to hacking. If cybercriminals can access your smart TV, they could spy on you, steal your data, and even target other devices on the same network. In this article, we show you how to tell if a smart TV is hacked and how to protect against smart TV cyberattacks. What is a smart TV? A smart TV is any TV that connects to the internet. Smart TVs can stream online content and often integrate Web 2.0 features, allowing them to be used in a variety of ways beyond just watching TV. You can still use your set to watch cable TV and traditional channels, but your device will also be able to stream shows, movies, music, and even games from online platforms and applications. Smart TV security risks Like any device that regularly connects to the internet, smart TVs bring with them a variety of privacy and security concerns. They count as IoT devices, and as such can be uniquely vulnerable to attacks. For one thing, your TV is less likely to support high-level security software, as you won’t always be able to download the kind of antivirus and encryption tools that your computer or phone can run. A VPN, for example, won’t be supported on many smart TVs (although it does work for certain systems). Some of these devices also come with cameras and microphones built in, which could be exploited by bad actors. And since your smart TV will probably run on Wi-Fi, it could give hackers access to other devices that use the same network, including your router. Can a smart TV be hacked? A smart TV can be hacked, because it’s connected to the internet. Any device with internet capabilities has the potential to be targeted by cybercriminals and malware. Your smart TV could be infected with malware, allowing hackers to monitor your activity or even target other devices on your network. Alternatively, if the router used by your smart TV is compromised, hackers could monitor your TV traffic and steal sensitive data. Can a smart TV be hacked if it’s not connected to Wi-Fi? If your smart TV is not connected to Wi-Fi, fewer lines of attack will be available to hackers. However, that doesn’t mean your device is completely safe. The main risk comes from internet connectivity, so if your device is online via another connection method — an Ethernet cable, for example — it can still be hacked. A smart TV with no internet connection of any kind cannot be hacked remotely, although if a bad actor gains physical access to the device, there is still a chance they could hack it or infect it with malware by accessing the device physically. Assuming that the smart TV is only accessible to you and people you trust, of course, and that it has no internet connection, it cannot be hacked. The only problem is that a smart TV with no online capabilities is slightly redundant, since connecting to the internet is an integral part of what makes it a useful device. Can someone see you through your smart TV? If your smart TV is equipped with a camera, then it is possible that a hacker could spy on you through your smart TV. They would first have to access the device and would probably need to install malware, but after this there’s no reason they wouldn’t be able to view the feed from your camera. The same goes for any audio capture devices built into or connected to the smart TV. Signs your smart TV has been hacked It can be hard to tell if your smart TV has been hacked. Keep an eye out for the following red flags: Unusual activity: If your TV starts acting strangely — turning on or off of its own accord, switching between channels, or changing its settings unexpectedly, it might have been hacked. Strange pop-ups, messages, or ads: The sudden appearance of pop-ups and ads could be a sign that something is amiss. Some seemingly innocent programs and apps come bundled with adware or worse. If you receive any messages demanding payment or locking you out of areas on your device, that is very likely a sign of malware infection. Reduced performance: If your smart TV starts operating more slowly, that may be because malware is running in the background. Hackers install programs that are meant to fly under the radar, so you might not be able to find the cause at first, but a sudden slowdown could be a red flag. Privacy settings altered: If your privacy settings change without your input, be on your guard. This is especially true if the altered settings include camera or microphone permissions. Disabled security software: It is always wise to install antivirus and security software on your devices. If the programs used to protect your smart TV are suddenly switched off or uninstalled, this could be a sign that a hacker has access to your system. Forced redirects: For smart TVs that allow full access to the internet, there is a risk that you might be forcefully redirected to a malware-infected page. If this happens, it could be because the site you were previously on has been compromised, or because a small exploit kit has already been installed on your device. {SHORTCODES.blogRelatedArticles} What to do if your smart TV is hacked Is your smart TV hacked? If you think your smart TV has already been compromised, follow these steps: Don’t continue using the device as normal. When someone has access to your smart TV, they might be able to view your activity in real-time. Don’t input any passwords or enter sensitive information of any kind into the TV. Install antimalware. If you catch the signs of malware early and still have control over your device, download some antimalware software and have it scan your system. Good cybersecurity programs can find potential malware and quarantine it, preventing it from influencing processes on the device. Disconnect from the internet. If the situation is dire and you’re unable to install antimalware — for example, if you have no control over the smart TV’s interface anymore — disconnect the device from the internet. This can cut off the hacker’s access and will also prevent the hack from spreading to other parts of your network. Turn off your smart TV. Disconnecting the internet could involve turning off your router, which might make it harder for you to troubleshoot your problems. As an alternative solution, turn your smart TV off. If necessary, you can disconnect its power source manually. While this isn’t ideal, it could stall the hacker for a while. Perform a full system reset. In the worst case scenario, you can completely reboot your system, returning the smart TV back to factory settings. While this might be annoying and could cause you to lose files, apps, and settings, it will almost certainly remove any malicious files or software stored on the device. Five ways to improve your smart TV security You shouldn’t have to choose between a great online TV and strong security — it’s possible to have both. Use the following tips to enhance your smart TV safety.

    Use strong passwords. If your TV is regularly or continually connected to the internet, make sure the device itself — as well as any applications installed on it — use strong, hard-to-guess passwords. A good password is long, complex, and randomized, with a mix of numbers and letters. Secure your router. Along with any other IoT devices you might have, your smart TV will probably connect to the internet through a router in your house. Wi-Fi security is an essential part of protecting your home devices. You can also enable a VPN for your router, to encrypt any data traveling through it. Split your network. Having all your smart devices on one network means that if one is compromised, the others could also be at risk. One way to get around this is to have two or more networks. For example, you could have your smart TV connected to one router, shielded with a VPN, while your smaller devices, like phones and tablets, run off a different router. Configure your router with a VPN. If your smart TV doesn’t support a VPN app, you can configure your router to send and receive traffic via a VPN server. If you do this, traffic moving within your network will not be encrypted, but as your data travels between your router and the VPN server, it will be protected. A VPN-configured router is great for your smart TV and it also improves overall smart home safety . Install a VPN on your smart TV. If your TV does support the NordVPN application, we strongly recommend that you use it to encrypt your data and protect yourself from prying eyes. With a VPN for smart TV, your data will be encrypted, your IP address hidden, and your overall privacy and security increased.

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