If a few years ago it was quite rare to find a house with a Smart TV, today the strange thing is that there is one that does not have one . Smart televisions are here to stay, it is not a secret, and that has generated a tremendous debate about their security . At the end of the day, they are devices found in the common areas of our homes, where the whole family gathers at lunch, dinner or rest. Therefore, it is important to know that Smart TVs can also be hacked , and that, as the title of this article says, it is easier than it seems.
According to a report published by Consumer Report, most smart TVs can be hacked by a hacker with not too advanced knowledge and from something as simple as a browser. This is a problem if we consider the boom in these, and that is that 69% of the televisions bought in the United States in 2017 were smart.
The analysis carried out by Consumer Report took into account two factors: trends in data collection and the possibilities of hackers to access computers. The conclusions of the report are:
- Smart televisions are very insecure and all the analyzed ones have vulnerabilities.
- Hackers can turn the volume up to extremely high levels, change channels, play content on different platforms, and disconnect television from the WiFi network.
Five marks, and none is saved
According to the report, which looks at teams from five brands, almost all devices, including newer ones, can be compromised . The operating system or platform they use is indifferent , all of them are vulnerable in one way or another, although they emphasize that Android TV , the Google platform, is the most invasive in terms of privacy . Although it is true that Google’s terms and conditions of use have to be accepted, the user sees how the online functions of their TV are blocked if they do not do so.
On the other hand, they affirm that, in some televisions, the app verification mechanism does not work or is defective . In this way, any app – even if the user has not allowed it – could take control and take it away from the viewer, something that is “less obvious but equally easy to achieve”. From Consumer Report they affirm that the vulnerabilities found could be annoying, but they would not allow a hacker to spy on the user or steal their information.
What can be done?
The simple solution, if you are concerned about your safety and the integrity of your TV, is not to buy a Smart TV , but the problem is that 1) you may not be willing to give up its range and environment of apps and 2) it is difficult to find them now . Of the 200 TVs that Consumer Report has in its ranking, only 16 are not smart , and that is from last year. Possibly that figure will drop further in 2018.
What can you do then? From the source they offer us the following options:
- Disables ACR or Automatic Content Recognition . It monitors what you see to offer you related content that you may like.
- Reset the television and do not accept the policies that do not convince you.
- Do not connect your TV to the Internet.