If you have a conventional and classic television you run no risk because the greatest danger is to get hooked on a program you find or call an 800 number when you zap. But if it is connected to the Internet, it can be the target of viruses and malware, of hackers who take advantage of the fact that we trust it more than in other devices such as a computer mobile phone.
Is it more insecure than other devices?
As always, it depends on our use and how we use this television. We will have more risks in case of using applications of doubtful reliability, downloading series or movies from pirated websites, inserting memories or pendrives that we have used on shared computers, etc. The advantage is that most users do not browse with their television and hardly download applications, they only use the ones that come by default and that means that we are not in danger in most cases.
But it is advisable to have a series of precautions because may collect personal information, we can compromise passwords and they can even compromise privacy if they have cameras or if something is connected externally. The usual measures are the usual ones (avoid unreliable pages, extreme care with your data, do not give bank information …)
Be careful with the WiFi and the network
The usual thing will be that your TV is connected to the home WiFi network or through the cable. And it is logical that this network is protected. Can configure the router to improve security. In case you are connected to a public network (something that seems unlikely) or to a shared network (you live in a residence, in a flat with many people …), extreme security measures with the WiFi network and look for a VPN that can be compatible. Don’t connect the TV to a public WiFi network under no circumstances and uses strong and secure passwords to access WiFi. Nothing 123456 or QWERTY.
Use a firewall
If your router allows it, turn on the firewall. You can also activate it directly on some television models but not all include it. In either case, use it whenever it’s available or switch to a router that allows it.
Beware of pages, links
In general, we do not use television to navigate in the same way that you do with the mobile phone or with the computer because we do not usually make purchases online, for example. But you should take the usual measures that are advised to maintain privacy and internet safety: do not click on links of doubtful reliability, do not enter pages that can be dangerous, do not trust any offer or give your personal data. If you use your television to watch online series through pirated pages, it can be one of the main causes that you end up with malware or viruses that can cause problems later. When browsing, look for a secure encryption. And if you download files, always do it from verified pages that ensure that what you are going to add to your television is completely reliable.
Most Smart TVs have all kinds of options for you to modify the privacy settings and get a more secure result. In Samsung, for example, you can go to the section “Smart security” which will activate an analysis of your TV and can analyze if there is something that is putting it in danger.
Activate automatic updates
In case there are any security holes, automatic updates will allow this to be fixed. In the case of Samsung, just go to Menu and in “Technical Support” you can find the option “Software update”. Normally these updates are done automatically but check this section to verify that it has been done. From here you will see two options: Update now or automatic update. Set the update on your TV. In the case of LG you can also access from Settings> General> About this TV> check for updates. You can check the option “Allow automatic updates” to be able to forget about this section.
It will depend on the TV whether you can change the TV settings. For example, on Android TV, allow me to stop sharing information. Android is in many televisions today as the default operating system and share all kinds of information such as device name, zip code, location, device settings or device ID. Google also has information if we link our account and they will have information like our name, email, URL and profile photo, etc.
But if you want this not to happen, you can stop sharing information from Smart TV with Android TV so that Google cannot use personal information or share it with third parties, for example.
- Tap on the microphone button on the remote
- Say “Turn off sharing information”
You can reactivate it whenever you want but this will prevent the information from being shared.
Turn off microphones
Perhaps you have seen a message on your screen that asks for your permission to activate microphones and voice recognition and thus be able to control the television without the need for a remote. Do not allow these accesses and thus you will prevent a malware can hear you. Normally TV brands will not listen to you (check the terms and conditions well) but accessing the microphone can bring problems in case of a security hole that a hacker can take advantage of. Look through the settings to mute the microphone and check the permissions that you may have granted to the TV in the installed games or applications.
Beware of pendrives or external memories
If you use an external hard drive or USB drive make sure it is not infected. If you have used that same device to print documents in a public center or if you have used it on computers at work or at school, format before introducing it to the television or check that there are no dangerous files. You may make the malware reach the Smart TV through this medium. You can also scan its content on your computer before using it through a specialized program that detects malware on external drives. You can enter it knowing that it does not pose any risk. Or use antivirus (we explain them below) that analyze this type of external drives.
Cover the camera
It may seem exaggerated but if you want more privacy, it is better to prevent. If your Smart TV has a built-in camera on the front, cover it with anything you can think of. Usually sticking a piece of paper on the camera is an option for the computer but can be uncomfortable in the case of the television. Find a small piece of dark masking tape or paint it with a marker and place it right in the front, where the camera sensor. So in the case of malware or hacking, you can avoid being spied on while at home or on the couch and some software captures images.
Check all the apps
On the Smart TV you install all kinds of applications: to watch series, connect to social networks, games that you control through a remote with Bluetooth. Be wary if they ask for voice or video permissions, if you ask for personal data or take control. Avoid accepting application permissions do not generate confidence as you can be games or applications that install. And always avoid using app stores other than those of the TV itself to prevent apps with malware.
Use an antivirus
In general, some televisions incorporate their own antivirus. And if it does not incorporate it, we should take into account what operating system you have installed to choose one or the other when downloading it and if it is available.
ESET Smart TV Security is one of the most complete and is available for any TV that runs Android. Once you have it, just go to the Google Play Store and download it. The great advantage is that it not only scans the TV for malware, but it is also capable of analyzing whether you have USB devices connected, thus ensuring that you avoid any risk. It is free although there is a paid version antiphising or that allows periodic analysis programs in case we forget to activate it from time to time.
In the event that you have a Samsung television that works with the Tizen operating system, you will not have to worry about antivirus because it has an integrated one from the McAfee company that is activated automatically. You will only have to search for “Smart Security” and do a scan. You will also be able to see if there are elements that have been isolated as potentially dangerous and you will find them in the “Isolation List” of the television.