Smart appliances may be too smart for our own good. Take smart TVs, for instance. As this article illustrates, some of these new appliances are particularly vulnerable to hackers. Once compromised, the TVs allow access to account information, including login credentials (which owners may use for access to more than just their smart-TV account). Even scarier, hackers could gain access to front-facing cameras to see everything happening in the room where the TV is connected. Instead of you watching your favourite program, criminals may be watching you! This may also apply to Skype webcams, X-box and other games with webcams (Kinect, Wii, PS, etc), laptops, and security cameras.
Once the machine is compromised, hackers can stealthily activate its front-facing camera (available on higher-end smart TVs), hijack a Samsung account, steal credentials by presenting fake login pages and infect other applications on the TV with malware.
Tip: When you are not using the webcam, unplug it!
Other options include:
- Use a hard wired LAN connection from PC to Smart TV – often more secure than using wireless networking (as wireless is often not installed securely)
- Unplug the Ethernet cable and / or delete the wireless network connection settings
- Put tape over the camera and inbuilt mic if included, and put a blank 3.5″ plug into any mic input sockets
- Don't allow your Smart TV access to any other devices on your network (laptops, PCs, smartphones, tablets)
- Don't log in from your TV to any websites that have sensitive information
- Don't reuse passwords on any other sites, especially not high-value sites like banking or email