Security Risks of Modern Smart TVs

Desktop computers are no longer necessary to connect to the Internet – we can surf without any restrictions using smartphones, tablets, and now even a TV.

Smart TVs dynamically join the collection of connected gadgets in our homes. But are they safe? Reports show that … no.

Criminals can use Smart TV to steal your sensitive data

Technology journalists from the German computer magazine called C’T decided to delve into the security problem of modern Smart TVs, examining the products of major manufacturers, such as LG, Philips, and Samsung.

Journalists examined devices in order to study the operation of SSL certificates. These are digital signatures which control security protocols during the Internet sessions. SSL certificates act as a superior session management system for HTTPS websites that require an encrypted connection to send packages to and from the server.

Through the creation and signing of their own certificates, journalists were able to get into the system and intercept traffic data from applications on all TVs under study. This experiment was a success because the security systems installed on not-so-smart-TVs did not verify the sources of the sent requests.

Journalists contacted all the manufacturers of hacked TVs. Most manufactured replied and promised to issue updates as soon as possible in order to eliminate those security bugs. You as a user should check for all available security patches and update your TVs as soon as possible. Yes, now you have to watch for TV updates too.

This is not the first time that Smart TVs cannot pass the security exam, exposing users to quite a few threats. A British researcher discovered that his LG Smart TV tracked all user actions and collected personal data without his knowledge. In addition, researchers at iSEC Partners discovered a vulnerability on a Samsung TV that allowed them to remotely control the camera.

Despite the fact that one of the main advantages of buying Smart TVs is the ability to use the Internet, on the other hand, this is a short path to big problems. Partly due to the relatively short period of presence on the market, equipment of this type does not yet have effective safety mechanisms and can be a potential hazard to individuals using them online.

Protection tips

The best recommendation at the moment is to prevent the use of the Internet on these devices until they are sufficiently protected. However, if you are still going to enjoy all the benefits of Smart TV, do it wisely:

  • Do not use sites that require you to enter sensitive data, such as banking info.
  • Avoid websites that require registration.
  • If you want to visit a web page that requires you to enter personal information, use for this purpose devices that are protected by a reliable antivirus program, such as a PC or tablet.
  • If you decide to surf the Internet using your Smart TV, you should limit the list of visited sites to those you know well and trust. And even on these sites do not click unfamiliar links that may appear there.
  • Use only trusted applications. Even official Apple Store may contain dangerous software. So please double check that the program you want to install on your Smart TV is really clean.
  • Update TV software regularly.
  • Do not click on hyperlinks in social media.

With the growing popularity of Smart TVs, manufacturers will have to pay more attention to improving the security of their devices. However, remember that until the appropriate security standards for the Smart TV platforms are introduced, security remains only in your hands.