7 Easy Ways to Check Having a smart TV is convenient for many of us because of the availability of streaming services, as well as other fun options. But these devices need the internet to work, which means they could be hacked. Cybercriminals use different malware types to gain access to smart devices, including TVs.
So, what is malware? This term is a combination of two words—malicious and software. Therefore, malware is software created to infect a system and perform a set of actions against an owner or a device. In our case, the target is smart TVs. Of course, there are many malware types out there that can cause various issues for a user.
How to spot if your TV is hacked?
Dealing with a potentially hacked smart TV could be difficult, so here are the most frequent signals that your device is hacked:
- Slow performance
Have you noticed your TV is suddenly slower than before? Perhaps it is buffering every time you try to watch something on the streaming services? Or does it take ages to load just one app? All of this could suggest that you are dealing with a malware infection. A change in performance often means that cybercriminals have infiltrated your network and are using your TV.
- Odd behavior
While odd behavior doesn’t necessarily mean you are dealing with a cyberattack but technical glitches, you should take a closer look at every new change on your smart TV. A TV shouldn’t turn itself on and off at random times, change channels on its own, or adjust volume without you using the remote.
- Frequent popup ads
Some streaming services will occasionally display ads, but if you notice a sudden increase, something might be wrong with your smart TV. Also, look at the contents of the ads and the promoted products. If anything seems strange, it might be the perfect time to check your TV’s security.
- Different security settings
Check your security settings to see if there are any changes. Cybercriminals might try to change your password or alter the settings altogether. If you haven’t made any adjustments yourself recently, chances are someone else has access to your smart TV.
- Unknown files in the folders
- Smart TVs sometimes have internal storage, so check these folders to see if any unknown video files are stored in them. You could find random videos taken with your TV’s webcam you don’t recognize, which is a huge red flag.
- Unusual app usage
Finding webcam videos in the internal storage could suggest that someone might be watching you through the webcam on your TV. You can quickly confirm that by going to settings and checking how much time you spend on your smart TV apps. Here, you will find data regarding streaming services, as well as your webcam.
- Surprising suggestions on streaming apps
Streaming services log everything we watch and provide us with good suggestions thanks to a powerful algorithm. But when unexpected content starts to get promoted to you, you should check your streaming history just to be sure your account hasn’t been accessed without your authorization. Remember that hackers often remove content they have been watching from the front page, so going through history is the best way to confirm your suspicions.
How to protect your smart TV from malware?
Now that we have talked about how to recognize that your TV is hacked, it is time to learn how to deal with the problem. Here’s what you should do:
Always update the software
Downloading the firmware and software updates regularly is the key to maintaining high levels of security for your smart TV. Almost every update will contain bug fixes and patches created to fix system vulnerabilities.
Turn off unused features
Smart TVs come with a variety of apps, features, and options. But remember to switch off the features you don’t use or don’t need. Different malware types can exploit them and gain access to the device. Additionally, installing security apps could improve your TV’s security, so consider protecting your network with a VPN.
When hacked, go offline
Disconnecting from the internet should be the first thing to do when a TV is infected with malware. You can do so in the settings. Once your device is offline, it will lose the connection with whoever has hacked your smart TV, and that person won’t be able to make any