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Computer Insider Show 2019-030 February 11, 2019

Today, something to make you rethink the market trend of having a smart TV. I have one, and in all honesty, the only thing I’ve ever used in the “smart” category is the built-in Netflix module, mostly to watch 4K movies and shows.

What is causing me some concern is the privacy issues, especially the built-in camera for Skype and other applications, and the recent information that the whole system may not be all that secure. On the not too good side, but not really a total piss off, is the thought that companies often use the “smart” technology to track what you watch. And on the “I can’t tolerate this” side, comes news that your TV could get hacked.

A study from Consumer Reports found that Samsung’s smart TVs are susceptible to hacking. A similar vulnerability also affects television sets that use Roku’s smart-TV platform. Hackers can apparently commandeer your TV to change the channel, raise the volume, or (worst of all) play random YouTube videos. They can’t actually spy on you or steal any personal information, but it could still be pretty unsettling.

For Roku TVs, all the hacker would need to do to take control is infect a computer or mobile device that’s connected to the same Wi-Fi as your TV with malware. Samsung’s televisions are a little harder to crack, but if you’ve used the company’s remote app on your phone you could be at risk.

If you’re worried about your smart TV getting hacked there are a few different things you can do to avoid it. When it comes to Samsung’s TVs, just don’t use the remote app and you should be fine. Unfortunately, Roku’s televisions are a little tougher to protect. Your best bet may be to disable the TV’s Wi-Fi connection entirely, essentially turning it into a dumb TV and then connecting it to a separate streaming device.

Reporting for Computer Insider, I’m Bob Pritchard

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Computer Insider Show 2019-030 February 11, 2019