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Does Your ‘Smart TV’ Know Too Much About You?

Is your TV invading your privacy? As ‘smart TV‘ becomes ever more popular, government and private parties try ever harder to exploit it to spy on viewers. If you;re not careful, your privacy could be at risk.

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Last year, a malware app called ‘Weeping Angel” targeted Samsung smart TV sets with a ‘fake off’ mode. To their owners, the TVs appeared to be off, but they were actually listening to users and recording their conversations.

With their embedded computers and microphones, these advanced TV sets are effective spy tools, so much so that the CIA has created and deployed means for transforming them into listening posts. And Wikileaks, Julian Assange’s platform for publication of stolen documents, has published detailed descriptions of viruses designed for hacking of such TV sets. MI5, Britain’s internal intelligence service, is even alleged to have helpedĀ  in designing some of the viruses.

Should you be worried about this?

Experts in cyber-security say most people don’t need to worry about hacking of their TV sets.

Most forms of malware are meant for mass surveillance. The tools designed for hacking TV sets, though, are too difficult to use to be of much value to the casual hacker. Hence, they are typically reserved for targeting individuals. Unless you suspect that you have attracted the attention of professional spies, then, you probably don’t need to worry that your TV set will be used against you.

How can you protect yourself?

If you’re still worried that your smart TV set or other devices could be used against you, a few precautions will help.

First, avoid buying electronic devices from manufacturers known to be casual about online security. And if you don’t really need networked features, avoid buying devices which include them.

Alas, protecting your privacy may require sacrificing certain conveniences. These may include voice activation, or even your TV’s web connection. You can usually find these features on your device’s ‘settings’ menu.

To be absolutely sure the device can’t spy on you, you’ll need to disconnect it from the electrical grid. If the device is battery-powered, you may need to remove the batteries.

Should you avoid ‘smart TV’ altogether?

Be realistic about this. No matter how careful you are, privacy protection in a smart TV will never be absolute. The methods we’ve mentioned here can keep your electronic devices from recording or transmitting your conversations, but your smart TV could still track your viewing history. Advertisers pay heavily for this data, and ability to collect it is built into the device’s software.

For this, the only known solution is not to buy a smart TV in the first place..


(For the most reliable internet connection, contact Satellite Country. We can help.)