Modern technology gives us many things.

Why your smart TV is the latest target for hackers – and what you can do about it


With the growing number of connected devices in our homes the number of threats from hackers and cyber criminals are on the rise and the latest object in their sights is your smart TV.

Smart TVs are in huge demand and will be a popular item this summer and customers will be connecting them to their home’s broadband connection to access content and to download apps and even make Skype calls.

And just like they do with our computers and mobile devices, cyber criminals see smart TVs as new ground to try and get your personal and financial information.

And being so new, smart TVs are not immediately seen by customers as a device they have to secure like their laptop or desktop computer.

By the end of 2016 there will be more than 100 million connected TVs around the world and they use a variety of operating systems including Tizen (Samsung), webOS (LG), Android (Sony) and Firefox (Panasonic).

New research by Symantec – the makers of Norton Internet Security products – has revealed new ways cybercriminals can trick you into infecting your smart TV with malware.

Instances seen in the research includes hackers mining smart TVs for personal data and even holding TVs for ransom.

Smart TVs have now become an attractive target with ransomware increasing by 113 per cent year on year on connected devices that could affect smartphones, tablets, computers and smartwatches.

Hackers could install malware through a corrupted app the users downloads to the TV or via a USB through a file the owner downloads and tries to play on the smart TV.

A smart TV that was taken over by ransomware. The TV was not able to be operated until the ransom was paid
A smart TV that was taken over by ransomware. The TV was not able to be operated until the ransom was paid

And because smart TVs also have a web browser, all the hacker needs to do to infect that TV is to direct them to a malicious website that’s serving up malware.


* At purchase and during setup, review the privacy policy and understand the data you are agreeing to share. Many companies share and sell user data to third parties and users need to carefully review these policies and the implications to their privacy.

* Be careful when installing unverified applications from unknown sources

* Enable app verification in the settings when possible

* Modify the privacy and security settings of the device to your needs

* Disable features that are not used, such as the camera or microphone, and consider covering the camera sensor

* Disable or protect remote access to smart TVs when not needed

* Use a strong encryption method, such as WPA2, when setting up Wi-Fi networks

* Use wired connections instead of wireless where possible

* Set up devices on a separate home network when possible, such as a guest account to help isolate the impact of compromised devices

* Be careful when buying used smart TVs, as they could have been compromised or tampered with

* Research the vendor’s device security measures and update frequency before you make a purchase to see if the vendor provides timely security updates

* Install updates as soon as they become available and, if available, enable automatic updates