New Vulnerabilities in Smart TVs Could Allow Hackers to Spy on Users

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As recent events like CES and MWC have proved, the popularity of connected devices is showing no signs of slowing. Everything has been transformed into smart: lightbulbs, ovens, sprinkler systems – with one of the first trailblazers being the smart TV. And now, it’s been discovered that smart TVs may be vulnerable to cyberattacks, as the independent security software tester AV-Comparatives and sigma star gmbh informed the general public of several critical vulnerabilities in Vestel firmware, which is used in more than 30 popular TV brands, including Medion. These vulnerabilities could be leveraged to spy on smart TV users.

This discovery began back in March 2017 when news emerged that it may be possible to hack into smart TVs to spy on users. Hearing this news, AV-Comparatives decided to perform a quick security check on the Medion smart TV and discovered a handful of vulnerabilities. AV-Comparatives asked sigma star gmbh (which specializes in IoT) to analyze these issues, and the company confirmed their severity. And though the groups informed Vestel and Medion already about these flaws, not all have been addressed.

Now, Medion has requested to further investigate a few outstanding vulnerabilities, which means a firmware update is not on the way just yet. So, in the interim, be sure to follow these security tips to ensure you stay secure while utilizing smart TVs:

  • Buy smart TVs with security in mind. When purchasing a smart TV, it’s always important to do your homework and read up on any current vulnerabilities. That way, you can make an informed purchase.
  • Update regularly. It’s an important security rule of thumb: always update any software whenever an update is available, as security patches are usually included with each new version. And even though fixes for these particular flaws have not been issued yet, they should be soon on the way. 
  • Secure your home’s internet at the source. Smart TVs, like all connected devices, have to connect to a home Wi-Fi network in order to run. If they’re vulnerable, they could expose your network as a result. Since it can be challenging to lock down all the IoT devices in a home, utilize a solution like McAfee Secure Home Platform to provide protection at the router-level.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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