Father’s Day is fast approaching, which means finding the perfect gift for dad should be at the top of your to do list. And if you’ve had your eye on the newest smart TV you might be thinking you’ve found the gift, but have you? The conveniences offered by these devices are unmatched by standard televisions thanks to their slick computer capabilities. Yet, with all of their technological advances also comes new security risks; so before you make the big purchase, consider the potential safety concerns that may be found in your flashy present.
The television has undergone many transformations throughout the years, from manually navigated black and white tubes to large remote controlled high-definition flat screens. And now, once again, we have another updated version at our fingertips. Smart TVs offer endless features, just like your smartphone, computer or tablet, including the ability to listen to music, play videos and surf the web and can be controlled via remotes, voice commands or even hand gestures. However, it’s important to be aware that with these computer-like offerings comes the threat of the same security hazards you might face on your mobile device or PC.
Since these TVs grant you web access, they are constantly connected to the Internet and, like your PC, they also keep some of your personal information stored within them. As stated by Darlene Storm from computerworld.com, by 2016, 100 million TVs will be connected to the Internet. With such an expansive user base, you’d expect security measures to be in place to protect against malicious attacks or data breaches, but given the novelty of these devices, full protection has not yet been developed. So until we can ensure your cyber safety for smart TVs, we recommend remembering the following when gifting this gadget.
Try To Avoid Web Browsing
Although one of the perks of owning a smart TV is having the ability to access the Internet on your monitor from the comfort of your couch, that’s also one of the biggest dangers. Attackers are constantly on the prowl for vulnerable users online. You must treat any browsing you do on your television just like you would with your computer. And since there is no Internet security for smart TVs at this time, it may be best to avoid logging on altogether.
Limit Website Access
If you do choose to go online, be careful about the websites you visit. You should not be logging into sites that store sensitive data about you, such as banking websites or social media channels. Keep in mind, the less data you offer up, the safer you’ll be.
Don’t Click Links
Another easy way to prevent data theft is to avoid clicking on links while you’re using the Internet. If your device were to be attacked by a malicious link it could then become susceptible to a Man in the Middle or botnet attack, which could infect your TV.
Opt Out Of A Web Cam
One of the most popular features of smart TVs is their ability to utilize facial recognition to provide a more user-friendly experience. In order to do this, they must have web cams built into their screens, and as you already know, these handy tools come with their own set of risks. Facial recognition software may seem like an added bonus to owning this device, however, this means your television’s web cam is constantly monitoring you, and if it were to be infiltrated your privacy could easily become compromised.
Use Trusted Apps
An additional highlight of smart TVs is the endless stream of apps that can be downloaded and used on-screen. But what happens if one of your apps falls victim to an attack and you have no way of being notified? We suggest for the time being, if you’re going to download them, make sure you’re only using popular, trusted applications.
Unfortunately, for full protection to be put in place it will most likely take a large-scale attack against smart TVs to surface. So for now, use sound judgment if you’re purchasing one this Father’s Day, perhaps by selecting a more simplistic model. And remember, your smart TV should be treated exactly as you’d treat a computer, so surf safely!