Imagine buying a shield – only to have someone rip it out of your hands and beat you with it. Metaphorically speaking, this can happen when you don’t secure smart home devices.
Take your security devices for example. If you don’t protect them with strong passwords, the technology you bought to protect yourself could be putting you at risk. Tap or click here for four ways to keep hackers out of your smart home security cameras.
Bottom line: Hackers can break into everything in your smart home. That’s why you must protect your internet-connected devices — including your smart TV. If you’ve been wondering “Can someone see me through my smart TV?” the answer might be yes.
How hackers break into your smart TV
You may not even realize that your smart TV has a camera. But there probably is! They are more common than ever.
You may have read this and wondered “Will all smart TVs have cameras in 2022?” Nope everything of them have cameras. It depends on the brand and model you buy.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you can video call on your TV, you probably have a camera. Tap or click here for five more things you never knew your smart TV could do.
To spot the camera, look around the edges of the TV screen. Look hard enough and you should be able to find the hidden lens.
Of course, the camera on your smart TV is useful. But it’s also risky.
Let’s say you have connected your smart TV to your home network. If a hacker breaks into your home network, everything connected to your system is at risk. You guessed it: that includes your TV.
A motivated hacker can record you through your smart TV. Imagine how much your private moments can be worth in the wrong hands. If you don’t secure your network, you could be attracting nasties, from perverts to government-sanctioned stalkers.
Yes, that happened. According to ForbesThe CIA used malware to infiltrate and eavesdrop on people through their Samsung smart TVs in 2014.
CONNECTED: How to lock down your Wi-Fi and secure your home
Maybe you were alone in the house and felt like you weren’t indeed alone. Maybe you’ve wondered, “Can someone see me through my smart TV?” Without further ado, here are three ways to determine if your smart TV has been hacked.
1. Want to know if your smart TV has been hacked? Look for strange settings changes
Hackers will not announce their presence. They want to bide their time and collect personal data right under your nose. To sniff them out, check your settings and see if anything has changed.
There are subtle red flags to watch out for, such as:
- The camera or microphone icon pops up: This could be a sign that someone else is using your device. However, you may have pressed the microphone button on the remote by accident.
- Random pop-ups appear on your screen: Malware may be the source behind strange pop-ups, although it’s possible that Roku is trying to show you ads.
- Sudden changes in sound: Maybe your sound is much lower than you wanted right after you turned it up. This could mean that hackers are fiddling with your settings and turning down the volume so that you don’t hear any of the sound effects on your smart TV.
2. You find unknown video files in your folders
Many smart TVs have internal memory. It all depends on the make and model, but you can navigate to the settings section to find your device preferences and storage folders. Dig around enough and you might find weird webcam video files that you didn’t record or save yourself.
Once you’ve found them, it’s time to change your Wi-Fi and router passwords. Tap or click here for several ways to create strong, hard-to-crack passwords. While you’re at it, double-check your app usage as well.
3. Check your app usage to find out if your smart TV has been hacked
So you suspect someone is watching you through your smart TV. But you want to make sure you’re dealing with smart TV hacking before you start googling phrases like “How to stop your smart TV from spying on you” or “Can someone see me through my smart TV?”
A quick way to find out is to open your settings and check your smart TV’s app usage. In the apps section of your smart TV, you can see how much time you spend on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Apple TV, and more. This can help determine any strange app activity.
Now, when you review your app usage, try to find odd activity. Maybe an app was used recently, but you can’t remember using it. Unauthorized use of an application or activity suggests that hackers have penetrated your smart TV. Just make sure you double-check everyone else who lives in your home, too.
BONUS: To find out if your smart TV has been hacked, check your credit card transactions
Most hackers have one thing in mind: money. Hacking into your smart TV gives hackers several ways to make money. They can use this invasion to take over the rest of your system.
Once they find your passwords, they have the keys to the kingdom. They may find your financial information and start buying things with your credit cards.
So check with both your bank and your ISP. If you find any unauthorized charges, this is another sign that your smart TV has been hacked. If cybercriminals have stolen your financial data, be sure to freeze your credit so they can’t open accounts in your name.
How to protect your smart TV from hackers
Once you know you’re dealing with smart TV hacking, there’s one good thing: you know what you’re dealing with. Use these tips to prevent someone from connecting to your smart TV:
- Select a wired connection: It’s easy for criminals to hijack a wireless connection. You may want to switch to wired for more protection.
- Update your smart TV software: Regular system updates are non-negotiable. Cyber security experts fix old bugs with every update. Downloading them helps keep you safe.
- Protect your router: Change these router settings to keep hackers out of your home.
- Disconnect your smart TV from Wi-Fi when you’re not using it: This might be inconvenient, but it’s worth the extra 30 seconds it will take to turn on Wi-Fi the next time you watch.
- Use strong passwords: Make sure you’re not using the 20 worst passwords.
While you’re there, download only reputable TV apps like those from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and more. We know you might want to save a buck and take a chance on a free service, but there are too many shady ones hiding malware.
Luckily, we’ve done the research for you. We’ve found a few free apps that are 100% legit and won’t cause any problems to your smart TV. Tap or click here for 15 safe streaming services you can use to watch free movies online.
3 ways to find out if your smart TV was hacked (and how to protect it)