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Can You Hack A Smart TV?

Last Updated Sep 19, 2022
A computer and a smart TV in a living room.
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Smart TVs are one in a long line of devices that have become beholden to an internet connection. With a connection to the internet comes danger. So, can you hack a smart TV?

A smart TV can be hacked. Any smart device with an internet connection can be remotely hacked. It is important to secure your home’s network and devices in any way possible.

It may sound scary and intimidating but securing your home’s network and smart devices is not as difficult as it may sound. You will feel like an IT security professional in no time.

Can you Hack a Smart TV?

While it is unlikely that hackers will target your Smart TV, it is possible. Your Smart TV has access to your bank information, to a degree, through streaming apps.

It is possible to hack a smart TV though not as straightforward as hacking a smartphone or personal computer. Anything connected to the internet is susceptible to hacking.

Protecting your privacy and personal information by understanding and securing your connected devices, especially your router and home WiFi network, is of the utmost importance.

How to Tell if Your Smart TV Has Been Hacked

It won’t likely be readily apparent that your Smart TV has been hacked. You need to be diligent and intelligent about using it to be certain. There are a few things you can watch out for.

  • Check the streaming app accounts on your Smart TV.
  • Look at internal storage and check for unfamiliar files
  • Other unexpected changes

These are just some common things to look out for when using your Smart TV to assess whether or not it has been hacked.

Keep in mind that any brand of Smart TV is susceptible to hacking, even Samsung TVs.

Check the Streaming Accounts Installed on your Smart TV

You should log in to your streaming accounts (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc.) in a web browser on your computer and check if any unknown profiles have been created or are being used.

If you find unknown profiles on one of your accounts, all of the major streaming platforms have an option to let you log out of all devices. Also, change your password.

This will force all devices to log in using your password. If you change your password, the old one won’t be compromised anymore. 

This method will make sure that people aren’t using your streaming accounts.

Check your Internal Storage

Most modern Smart TVs have internal storage for storing pictures or videos. Periodically check this internal storage for any unfamiliar files. If you find some, you might have been hacked.

You should delete the files and possibly even set your Smart TV back to factory settings. This will wipe anything installed on your Smart TV by a hacker.

It will also erase everything you have saved to your Smart TV. You want to be sure you have been hacked, as this is an all-or-nothing solution.

Unexpected Changes to your Settings

Any changes in your settings that are unfamiliar to you can signal your TV being hacked. If your volume isn’t where you left it, your home channel keeps changing, anything unfamiliar. 

You should Google any problems you have to ensure that you aren’t just experiencing a bug with your smart TV. Not everything is a hacker, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

How to Protect a Smart TV from Hackers

Some simple ways to prevent your TV from being hacked by the criminal element.

  • Strong Passwords
  • Software Updates
  • Turn off all microphones and cameras

Strong Passwords

Passwords for all apps and accounts should be at least 12 characters long. You should choose a password as long as the account or app allows and you can remember. 

You should also use differing characters, symbols, and letter cases. Avoid using personal information for your passwords. Also, use different passwords for each account.

Do not repeat passwords.

Software Updates

The software updates to your Smart TV will often patch security vulnerabilities found on your particular model of Smart TV. It is important to check for updates often.

We have great instructions on updating your software on a Samsung TV and an LG TV.

Turn Off All Microphones and Cameras

Check your settings to see if your Smart TV has microphones or cameras. All of these should be turned off. Access to a microphone or camera makes your TV a bigger target for hackers.

Listening to or watching you in your home is a top goal for hacking a Smart TV. By turning these features off, you are making your TV less desirable to would-be hackers.

What to Do If your Smart TV Has Been Hacked

If you find evidence of being hacked, you aren’t out of luck; you still have options!

  • Wired Connection Over a Wireless Connection
  • Disable your TV’s WiFi Antenna
  • Router Settings
  • Factory Reset

Wired Connection Over a Wireless Connection

One way to make your Smart TV harder to hack is to connect it to your router via a hard-wired ethernet cable instead of WiFi. 

A WiFi connection is much easier to interrupt and control than a hard-wired ethernet connection. 

Disable your TV’s WiFi Antenna

If you decide to use WiFi or have no option to use hard-wired ethernet, you can still disable your Smart TV’s WiFi each time you use it. It is drastic and inconvenient but effective.

You should still disable your TV’s WiFi antenna if you connect via an ethernet cable. Some TVs have an internal network broadcasted, and you don’t want hackers to gain access. 

Router Settings

Making sure your router has good security protocols in place is also important. The method of enacting these fixes will depend on your particular router model.

Some of the Settings to check are:

  • Make sure your router’s software is up to date
  • Disable any remote access to your network
  • Make sure traffic encryption is enabled
  • Make sure your router’s firewall is enabled

Factory Reset

When all else fails, you can factory reset your Smart TV. If you have been hacked, this will erase any running or currently connected hacks attached to your Smart TV by deleting all information.

A factory reset will turn your Smart TV back to its state when you first pulled it out of the box. You will have to redownload all apps and change all the settings where you like them. 

It can be a pain, but it is the one surefire way to know that the hackers no longer have access to your TV. With more security, they won’t be able to regain access either.

Conclusion

Smart TVs, just like any internet-connected device, are susceptible to hacking. Protecting yourself and your network is the easiest way to prevent hackers from gaining access to your TV.

Also, if you are buying a new TV, models with cameras or lacking an ethernet port make a more desirable target for would-be hackers.

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