As technology advances, so do the risks that come with it, such as hacking. Many people may wonder if their smart TVs are vulnerable to such threats.
In this article, we will discuss the signs your smart TV has been hacked, enabling you to take necessary action and safeguard your device.
Signs Your TV Has Been Hacked
Let’s start with the most obvious ones.
Odd Behavior and Performance Issues
Sudden and inexplicable changes in volume levels, channel selections, or turning on and off by itself are common signs of a hacked TV. This unusual behavior can be indicative of unauthorized remote control over your device.
Sluggish performance, frequent freezing, or encountering random error messages are also red flags. These issues may suggest that your TV has been compromised, either by malware or by a hacker gaining control.
Unusual App Activity
If you notice unexpected app installations or witness apps opening or closing without your interaction, it could be a sign of a hacked TV. Hackers may manipulate or exploit vulnerabilities within the TV’s software, gaining unauthorized access and control over the apps.
Pay attention to any suspicious activities within the apps you regularly use, as irregular behavior may indicate a compromise.
Unauthorized Purchases or Sign-ins
Keep an eye out for any unauthorized purchases or sign-ins on your connected accounts, such as streaming services or app stores. Such activities might suggest that a hacker has gained access to your TV and is using your information.
Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in your TV’s security or employ techniques like credential stuffing to gain unauthorized access to your accounts and make purchases without your consent.
Slow or Sluggish Performance
If your TV experiences a noticeable decrease in performance, such as slow response times, frequent freezing, or general unresponsiveness, it may be a sign of hacking or malware infection.
Hackers can install malicious software or use your TV as part of a botnet, causing it to perform poorly due to increased processing demands or network traffic.
The TV Turning On or Off by Itself
A hacked TV may exhibit the strange behavior of turning on or off autonomously, seemingly at random. This can be a cause for concern, as it suggests that someone else has remote control over your device.
Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities or backdoors in your TV’s software to gain unauthorized access and manipulate its functions, including power settings.
Unexplained Changes in Settings
If you notice alterations in your TV’s settings, such as volume levels, picture quality, or language preferences, without your knowledge or input, it may indicate that your TV is being controlled by an unauthorized party.
Hackers may modify settings to disrupt your viewing experience or gain unauthorized access to features and functionalities of your TV.
Random Error Messages
Unexpected error messages appearing on your TV screen may be a sign that your TV is infected with malware or has been hacked. These error messages can result from malicious code or unauthorized modifications made to your TV’s software by hackers.
These messages may serve as indicators that your TV’s security has been compromised and require immediate attention.
Unwanted Pop-ups and Ads
If you start seeing intrusive pop-ups or ads appearing on your TV screen, it could be a sign that your TV has been hacked or infected with adware or malware.
Hackers may inject malicious advertisements or utilize adware to generate revenue or gather user data without your consent. Such unwanted ads can disrupt your viewing experience and compromise your privacy.
Excessive Data Usage
Monitor your internet data usage carefully. A sudden and significant increase in data consumption by your TV could indicate that it is being used for unauthorized activities, potentially as a result of hacking.
Hackers may exploit your TV’s internet connection for activities like cryptocurrency mining, conducting illegal downloads, or launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
Connected Devices Behaving Strangely
If other devices connected to your TV, such as smartphones or tablets, start exhibiting unusual behavior or experiencing connectivity issues, it could be a sign that your TV has been compromised. Hackers might use your TV as a pivot point to gain access to other devices on your network.
Weird Content on the TV
In case you notice strange channels, shows, or movies appearing on your TV without your knowledge, it might be a sign that your TV has been hacked and someone else has control over the content you’re seeing.
Hackers may manipulate your TV’s settings or exploit vulnerabilities in the software to gain unauthorized access and change the displayed content.
What to Do If Your TV Has Been Hacked
Disconnect and Reset
If you think your TV has been hacked, the first thing to do is disconnect it from the internet immediately. This helps prevent hackers from further accessing or damaging your device. Next, you should reset your TV to its factory settings. This removes any changes that may have been made by the hacker and deletes any potential malware. For most smart TVs, you can find the reset option in the settings menu under ‘System’ or ‘Advanced system settings.’
Scan for Malware and Vulnerabilities
Once you’ve reset your TV, it’s crucial to scan it for malware and vulnerabilities to ensure there are no lingering threats. You can do this by checking your TV’s app store for a reputable antivirus or vulnerability scanning application. Install and run the application to identify potential problems and address them accordingly.
Additionally, during this step, you should also check for outdated software and firmware on your TV.
Updated software often patches security vulnerabilities and provides better protection against hackers. Make sure you download and install any available updates.
Contact Customer Support
Finally, if you’re concerned about potential hacking or the security of your smart TV, reach out to the TV manufacturer’s customer support.
They can help you with further troubleshooting and provide guidance on how to better protect your TV moving forward. Make sure to report any suspicious activity you’ve noticed on your device, as this helps manufacturers improve the security of their products.
While dealing with a hacked TV can be a frightening experience, taking prompt and appropriate action can help minimize potential damage. By following these steps, you can regain control of your device and take the necessary precautions to protect it going forward.
Preventive Measures to Secure Your TV
Update Your TV Firmware and Apps Regularly
One of the most effective ways to keep your TV secure is by updating its firmware and apps regularly. Manufacturers provide these updates to fix security vulnerabilities and improve the overall performance of your device.
It is crucial to keep your TV and its apps up-to-date, as outdated software exposes your TV to potential threats.
Use Strong and Unique Passwords
Another important preventive measure is using strong and unique passwords for the various services you access through your smart TV.
These passwords should be a mix of numbers, symbols, upper and lower case letters. Additionally, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, as this can make it easy for hackers to access all your services if one is compromised.
Secure Your Home Network
Finally, securing your home network is essential for protecting your smart TV from cyber threats. Make sure you are using a secure network provided by a reputable internet service provider (ISP).
Ensure your network is encrypted with WPA2 or another strong encryption method to safeguard your data from prying eyes. Activating the TV’s firewall and turning off its Wi-Fi connection when not in use can also enhance your security.