Now, Hackers Are Coming For Your TV — Here's What To Do

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Just like your laptop and iPhone, a smart TV is another part of the connected-device universe, meaning that it, too, can fall prey to hackers. Even though a TV hack might not sound as dangerous as that of your Gmail, its consequences can be just as serious.
Recently, security consultant Rafael Scheel showed that he could use a transmitter to gain control over a broadcasting signal known as DVB-T that is used in many countries abroad. Scheel was able to remotely access multiple TVs tuned into the signal at once. Because smart TVs are usually linked to the same network connections as your other devices, when one is compromised, all others are at risk.
DVB-T isn't used in the U.S., so you don't need to worry about this particular attack, but there are still important safety measures to keep in mind if you are using a smart TV.
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To start, you need to know what signs indicate that your device has been targeted. "Unlike a computer, general sluggishness from a television doesn’t necessarily mean your television has been compromised," says Satnam Narang, a senior security response manager at Norton by Symantec. "We’ve seen real-life cases where smart TVs were infected with ransomware, so the most typical way to identify a compromised television is when you are presented with a lock screen."
This lock screen can look like the below, appearing in the form of an FBI letter that requires a penalty payment for so-called "suspicious materials" that have been found on the TV.
If your TV is hacked, start off by doing a factory, or master, reset that will erase all your information. You may also be able to uninstall malware, if it entered your device when you downloaded an app. However, if your TV is locked, that option isn't available.
"If a television has been hit by ransomware, it might not be possible to perform the factory reset," Narang says. "Users should contact the television manufacturer and ask them to provide a way to factory reset using the remote control, if possible."
When using different applications on your TV, approach them with the same caution you might on your laptop or iPhone. Don't download anything that looks suspicious or open a strange link or folder. After all, the last thing you want is something interfering with your nightly Netflix session.
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