5 tips to stop your smart TV from spying on you

Right now, there might be an insidious agent of the Hollywood elite hiding in your own home. He’s looking at you. It records your movements. And he reports these moves to his masters using your own internet connection. If that sounds like the plot of a bad novel or maybe a worse movie, it shouldn’t be, because it’s truer than you might think. This agent is your smart TV, and there are ways to stop the spy before he learns too much.

While smart TVs have made watching streaming video much more convenient – most services available from a remote control – they also come with a downside. The TV has built-in features that allow it to track what you watch and report back. Worse, television can also be hacked and used to directly spy on your private conversations. A smart TV with voice commands is already set up to receive what you say in a room, so adapting it to record and transmit everything is not offline.

So how do you protect yourself? A few simple tips can be of great help.

5 ways to protect your data

An ounce of prevention

Consider not using your smart TV as a smart TV, but rather as a simple screen. If your TV does not have Internet access, it cannot use its reporting functions. If you need to connect, only use cables to make sure it can’t signal when you are not using it. Don’t tell your smart TV about Wi-Fi, let alone your network name and password. Instead, use over-the-top boxes for your streaming viewing. With a range of devices capable of serving as streaming platforms, from DVD players and gaming systems to dedicated systems like Roku and Amazon Fire TV, capable of getting the job done, your TV can just get you there. show a series of images as it was always meant to be. .

Button your lip, tv

This is actually a variation of the previous trick. Instead of completely disabling your TV’s ability to access streaming content and the wider Internet, instead consider simply disabling the parts that can spy. A little tape on the camera lens has been a winning strategy for laptop users for years, and it may work for your smart TV, too. A simple online test can let you see what others are seeing through your webcam. So if you don’t like what you see, fix it.

Closing the microphone can also be helpful here; although it disables voice commands, it does not remove the functionality of the remote. You should be able to mute your remote control in your TV settings.

Use the privacy policy

While your smart TV can spy on you, it technically needs your permission to do so. The problem is, in some cases your TV assumes it has permission and needs to be actively banned before it plays. The new smart TVs include a privacy policy that you will need to agree to when you set them up. Some items may be refused, but some will be necessary to even be able to use your new TV. In some cases, opting out will also miss regular updates, so it’s always a good idea to log in sometimes just to check for firmware updates. Do your best to understand the privacy policy as it is presented instead of just skipping at the end and clicking “accept”.

Check your brand

At the end of 2020, a particular security flaw was discovered in TCL televisions. While TCL later claimed to have patched the vulnerability, the fact that it was there initially should be of concern to users. Samsung models were among the first brands to show potential privacy concerns in 2017.

Get to the root of the problem.

Instead of dealing with the problem only at the TV level, consider going to the source of any potential hack: your router. Using a VPN router can be all the help you could possibly need. What is a VPN router? A VPN router is a router equipped with a VPN or a virtual private network. It works pretty much the same as your standard router, but since it comes with its own VPN, it makes all traffic going over that private network. This can restrict performance somewhat, and not every model may work with all networks, so do your homework accordingly.

With these five tips in mind, you’ll be able to rest much more easily. Knowing that, even though you got hacked, you did what you could to prevent it is a great piece of peace of mind. No one can stop every hack. Just ask anyone whose credit card data has ever been stolen from a store they shopped at. Your new smart TV works much the same way. Making a few moves ahead of time can drastically reduce the chances of you getting hacked, spied on, or any other electronics related condition you’d rather not have.

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About Anne Wurtsbach

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