Smart TVs Need Help Too
Do you own a Smart TV?
There are risks that you should consider before bringing these units into your home.
Have you ever considered that it might listen in the conversations going within the walls of your home?
It’s All About The Dollars
In this market space, cost reduction is the name of the game, and that means that manufacturers think that they need to subsidize those costs by using targeted ads and sponsorships. It also means that security is probably not high on the manufacturer’s list of priorities.
Some manufacturers have designed their products to track what you watch and to pass that information back to the vendors that provide content on their platform. Each of these content vendors is in the business of making money from you after the sale by using ads that target you.
Feature Loss with Added Security
While most of the platforms requested permission to collect data, however, the setup process is somewhat complex and complicated, and any negative answer, in regards to permissibility results in a marked decrease in functionality. Be sure that you read each screen of informational text shown to you, entirely, and don’t just blindly hit “okay” to all the privacy policies and user agreements.
But more than that their cameras can watch your movements and their microphones can record your conversations right out of the box.
Why? It is all about marketing. You purchase the TV hardware, but your use of it and viewing habits become the product that they use to increase their revenue. By tracking your viewing habits, they have a commodity that they can monetize by selling it to advertisers.
While most TVs used for direct viewing and streaming content are safe, if you download data from questionable sources, you could be in danger of downloading malware on to your device.
Can SmartTVs be infected with Viruses
Yes. But unlikely.
The NSA has developed tools used for spying. Some of these tools were stolen and are now available in the wild. One of those tools went by the name “Weeping Angel” and if used, might be used to turn a smart TV into an active listening device.
Not all Operating Systems are created equal
Each Smart TV uses an operating system much like a computer, and there are five central operating systems (RokuTV, Tizen, Android TV, SmartCast and webOS) currently in use by each of the different manufacturers. Some manufacturers use a proprietary system.
According to Consumer Reports, hackers using a web interface could control millions of smart TVs by exploiting some easy-to-find security flaws in some manufacturers allowing them to conduct some mischievous activities that could include changing the volume or switching the channels, but they would not be able to steal personal information or do any surveillance activities.
User privacy is an issue with most models available today, regardless of the operating system that it is using.
The operating system used in LG smart TVs is the Palm developed WebOS as it is one of the most stable, functional, and secure of all the platforms.
Having one of these can allow you a lot of functionality and enjoyment, but there are risks even when used as the manufacturer intends which is why
need to pause and seriously consider the implications of ownership before you purchase one of them.
What You Can Do
Perform Updates to your SmartTV
Connect it to the internet.
Go to the Settings screen
Select Software Update.
Select Auto Update.
If updates are no longer available for your Model, then turn off functionality and purchase an external box – Roku or firestick or my favorite, and most secure the AppleTV.
Disable the Microphone
Go to the Settings screen
Select Smart Features
Scroll to Voice Recognition
Toggle switch to OFF
Does your TV offers gesture control or facial recognition for authentication
Go to the Account settings menu to disable the camera or cover your camera with a piece of electricians tape.