Most of us own a smart TV these days that’s connected to the internet so we can stream content from sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple+, and other services. However, where many of us fail to think smart ourselves is when it comes to security.
Like any smart-home device, our connected televisions are vulnerable to attack from hackers if we don’t take appropriate steps to keep gadgets and networks safe from prying eyes.
Buy Good Quality Devices
The first thing you can do to protect yourself is to pick out a quality product right from the start that’s specifically designed with security top of mind. Select a TV that the manufacturers build with safety measures integrated in regarding software setup. Developers should make regular updates more accessible if security gaps arise that need plugging, too.
Buying a good product helps because you know hackers will have fewer ways to launch an attack. Alternatively, if you purchase a television made by a firm that doesn’t take security seriously, there’s likely common knowledge going around in the hacker community about how to break in via “back doors” because of design faults.
Update Default Settings ASAP
Once you’ve spent money on a new TV, it’s up to you to take measures to protect your systems. Begin by changing the default login and username settings already set up on your device. Most brands choose standard product names, passwords, and other details for their designs or at least for all items within a certain range or of a particular model number. This information is freely available online or in user guides, which means hackers can see it.
As such, check out the installation instructions that come with your TV, as they should have step-by-step details on how to change the name of your device and the password when you first set it up on your network. Most people don’t bother with this step, which makes them more vulnerable to a hacker attack.
Choose a password at least eight characters long with a mixture of symbols, numbers, and upper-case and lower-case letters. It shouldn’t relate to any easy-to-guess codes (such as the word “password” or the numbers “123456”) or details you’ve shared anywhere publicly, such as child or pet names or the birth date of yourself or your loved ones.
Plus, change the ID of your device from the default manufacturer name that hackers will spot immediately if scanning systems and searching networks to something only you will identify. After all, if cybercriminals can easily spot what brand device you have, they’ll know the default details they can enter to try to break into your gadget.
Secure Your Internet
Next, secure your home’s internet connection with a strong password. Use the tips mentioned above about creating codes to lock your Wi-Fi so that if anyone wants to use it, they need to ask you for the specific login details first. Since smart TVs and other gadgets are typically connected all day to the internet, hackers know that if they can access a wireless network, they can often get into gadgets from there.
Utilize Security Software
Another tip is to ensure you utilize security software on all the tech tools you use to control your smart home products, such as your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. We often stream content from our phones to our TV screen to get a bigger view or connect our Spotify account with our television so we can listen to music through the machine.
If you use devices to control your TV in any way but don’t protect these goods from cybercriminals, they can give those with nefarious purposes a way into all your connected equipment. As such, purchase well-regarded, comprehensive security software such as that offered by market leader Trend Micro to protect your entire network. It should feature cloud security, protection against numerous threats, such as viruses, ransomware, spyware, and spam, and provide real-time threat alerts, among other things.
Other ways to secure your smart TV against external digital threats include keeping all software and firmware updated and disabling microphones and cameras when they’re not required. Plus, don’t forget to read the terms of different services that you might use on your smart television (e.g., Netflix or health apps) to ensure your information is kept private and secure so hackers can’t access your details somewhere and then break into gadgets from there.
All these steps take a little time upfront but can save you considerable time and money later on by mitigating the risks of a cyber attack.