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The simple television is a thing of the past. The Smart TVs of today have much more in common with devices like smart phones and tablets than with the old boxes that used to sit in the corner of everyone’s homes. Nowadays televisions are connected, enabling viewers to tune in to anything and everything that is available via the Internet. But as well as multiple benefits, connected TVs also present some security risks.
Most of us take cyber security extremely seriously within our work environments. In business there is a legal framework to ensure that individuals’ personal details are kept secure. Many people are cautious about giving information out over the telephone or via unsecured payment methods and only the very reckless does not have some sort of security system operating on their personal computers.
While, at present, connected TVs do not offer quite the range of possibilities presented by smartphones and a television still does not fulfil all the functions of a personal computer, over the next few years they are likely to get increasingly close to this level of functionality. It is not impossible to imagine televisions being used for online shopping or banking virtual platforms.
This type of online activity is already the hunting ground for cyber criminals so the move to using a larger screen is only going to add a new area of vulnerability. Recent research by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) identified Cyber Attacks as the principle threat to Smart Homes.
The recent controversy surrounding Samsung being accused of listening to the conversations and collecting data on users’ viewing habits of their customers through Smart TV microphones. LG was also accused of collecting information on its customers’ viewing habits through their Smart TVs. Both companies deny these accusations, but the sophistication of the technology contained within these TV systems does make such suspicions seem possible. Smart TVs have the potential to open householders up to a level of vulnerability which needs to be addressed.