If a few years ago it was quite strange to find a house with a Smart TV, today the strange thing is that there is one that does not have it. Smart televisions are here to stay, it’s not a secret, and that has generated a tremendous debate about the safety of them. At the end of the day, they are devices that are 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 reads, it is easier than it seems.
According to a report published by Consumer Report, most smart televisions 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 take into account the boom of these, and is that 69% of televisions bought in the United States in 2017 were smart.
The analysis carried out by Consumer Report took into account two factors: the data collection trends and the possibilities of hackers to access the equipment. The conclusions of the report are:
- Smart televisions are very unsafe and all those analyzed have vulnerabilities.
- Hackers can raise the volume to extremely high levels, change channels, play content on different platforms and disconnect the television from the WiFi network.
Five marks, and no one is saved
According to the report, which analyzes equipment from five brands, almost all devices, including newer ones, may be compromised. It is indifferent to the operating system or platform they use, they are all vulnerable in one way or another, although they emphasize that Android TV, the Google platform, is the most invasive in terms of privacy. While it is true that you have to accept the terms and conditions of use of Google, the user sees how the online functions of your TV are covered if you do not.
On the other hand, they affirm that, in some televisions, the mechanism of verification of apps 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 claim 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 worry 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 your range and environment of apps and 2) it is difficult to find them anymore . Of the 200 TVs that Consumer Report has in its ranking, only 16 are not smart, and that they are from last year. Possibly that figure will be further reduced in 2018.
What can you do, then? From the source we offer the following options:
- Disable the ACR or Automatic Content Recognition. It monitors what you see to offer you related content that you may like.
- Restore the TV and do not accept policies that do not convince you.
- Do not connect your TV to the Internet.