TV’s have become more and more popular every day because of the functionality
they offer; such as being able to video chat with family and friends, browse
the internet, watch movies/TV shows on streaming services while having the
comfort of the living/family room.
all of this added functionality and built in apps bring an added convenience to
a user’s experience, they all have risks associated with them. Almost all smart
TV’s are constantly connected either by ethernet cable or wirelessly which make
them an easy target for attackers, especially for those that are connected to
the internet directly and not behind a router or firewall. Many of them also
contain webcams and/or microphones that can be potentially taken control of by
With the user base expanding as rapidly as
it is you would expect that some form of security measures would be in place;
however, in reality this is not the case. Recently in the news there have been
articles and videos showing security researchers and hackers taking control of
smart TV’s by accessing the settings menu, cloud storage accounts used on the
device, viewing contents of folders on locally attached hard drives (as well as
image those hard drives), and search for username and passwords at a later
point. Due to how new these devices are, not much effort has been spent
securing these devices.
Now that we know that there are real world attack vectors, what can we do to thwart these types of attacks?
Treat Smart TV’s as if they are Computers
think of your smart TV as a computer and not a television. Remember these
devices have Wi-Fi and networking built-in along with webcams and microphones.
While one of the biggest perks of a smart TV is
the capability of browsing the web from the comfort of your couch, this also
introduces numerous security risks. For those who insist web browsing using the
smart TV, never go to online banking sites or store usernames and passwords in
Disable Webcam / Microphone Features
Opt out of the use of webcams and microphones. While the novelty of chatting with your family and friends using your TV sounds cool, remember that with this feature enabled it can allow an attacker to take control and watch/listen to your conversations.
While this might seem frightening, keep in mind that these devices are still relatively new and antivirus software will eventually become available. Given the popularity surrounding these devices, it is only a matter of time until manufacturers begin looking at how to harden these devices from attackers.
Andre Sookram, BAISc (ISS), GPEN; Security Consultant