Smart TV hacked

10 tell-tale signs your smart TV has been hacked

5 Mins Read

PUREVPN10 tell-tale signs your smart TV has been hacked

In today’s technologically advanced world, smart TVs have become commonplace in our homes. These devices offer convenience, entertainment, and seamless streaming options. 

However, with increased connectivity comes the potential risk of being hacked. If you enjoy streaming or have young children who love to spend their evenings watching their favorite cartoons in the living room, it’s essential to be aware of the signs that your smart TV may have been compromised. 

Since smart TVs can be hacked remotely, we have put together a comprehensive guide outlining ten red flags to look out for and provide valuable tips on protecting your device from cybercriminals. Though before we delve into the tell-tale signs of a hacked smart TV, let’s quickly look at how it can affect your online privacy and security. 

What happens if your smart TV gets hacked?

If your smart TV gets hacked, it can have various consequences, including:

  • The hackers may gain unauthorized access to your smart TV’s functions, settings, and content.
  • They could potentially spy on you through the TV’s camera and microphone if it has these features.
  • Personal information like login credentials, credit card details, or other sensitive data could be stolen.
  • The criminals might install or display inappropriate or harmful content on your TV.
  • They may demand a ransom for restoring your control over the TV.
  • The hacker could take control of your TV, change channels, adjust settings, and even turn it on or off at will.
  • Smart TVs are often connected to other smart devices in your home. A hacker might use the TV as a gateway to access and compromise other connected devices.
  • If your TV is linked to streaming services or online shopping accounts, a hacker could make unauthorized purchases.
  • They may use information gathered from your smart TV to invade your online privacy, potentially for malicious purposes.

How to tell if your smart TV has been hacked?

Here are some of the most common signs of a hacked smart TV.

1.  Unusual behavior and glitches

If your smart TV starts to act strangely, such as turning on and off randomly, changing channels without prompting, or adjusting volume unexpectedly, it could be a sign of a security breach. While occasionally, these issues may stem from technical glitches, it is better to investigate further to rule out the possibility of hacking.

2.  Unauthorized access

If you notice your smart TV displaying the content you did not request or your streaming accounts being accessed without your authorization, it’s a clear indication that someone may have gained access to your system. Swift action is crucial to prevent further unauthorized access.

3.  Strange pop-ups or advertisements

It’s common to encounter advertisements while streaming. However, an excessive amount of pop-ups or unusual ads could indicate a malware infection or a hacker manipulating your TV settings remotely.

4.  Slow or lagging performance

If your smart TV suddenly starts experiencing sluggish performance, taking longer to load apps, or displaying buffering issues, it might be an indication of malicious activities. Hackers may be using your TV’s resources for other purposes, causing a decline in performance.

5.  Sudden increase in data usage

When streaming your favorite shows or movies, data usage is expected to fluctuate to some extent. Nevertheless, if you notice a significant and unexplained spike in data consumption, it could be due to unauthorized activities happening in the background, such as a hacker streaming content or using your connection for malicious purposes.

6.  Device errors or malfunctioning

Regularly encountering system errors, freezing, or apps crashing unexpectedly, despite having enough storage on your device, might indicate that your smart TV has been compromised. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in the system, causing such malfunctions.

7.  Strange network activity

Monitoring your home network’s activity is essential to identify any suspicious behavior. If you notice multiple unknown devices connected to your network or abnormal data transfers, it’s a clear sign that someone may have gained unauthorized access to your smart TV or network.

8.  Security settings altered

Keep an eye on your smart TV’s security settings. If you find changes in passwords, network names, or any other security configurations that you did not make, it’s highly probable that your device’s security has been breached.

9.  Unfamiliar apps or icons

If you see new apps or icons appearing on your smart TV’s home screen without your consent, be cautious. Hackers can install malicious software that opens doors for further exploitation and unauthorized access to your system.

10. Missing or deleted content

Imagine browsing through your favorite streaming platform, and some of your preferred shows or movies have disappeared. It might seem like a technical glitch, but it could also point towards a hacker manipulating your smart TV. Missing or deleted content could be a sign that your streaming accounts or smart devices have been compromised.

What to do if your smart TV has been hacked?

If you suspect that your smart TV has been hacked, here are three crucial steps to take:

1. Disconnect from the internet

First things first, Immediately disconnect your smart TV from the internet. This can be done by unplugging the Ethernet cable or disabling the WiFi connection in the TV settings. By doing so, you can prevent further communication between the compromised device and the hacker’s command and control server.

2. Perform a factory reset

Even one of the best smart TV brands, Samsung, has had its devices hacked in the past. However, given the increase in cyber attacks, most devices now have the option to perform a factory reset. This will erase all your personal data, accounts, and settings from the TV, essentially reverting it back to its default state. You can consult your TV’s manual or support documentation for instructions on how to perform a factory reset specific to your model.

3. Update software and change credentials

After performing a factory reset, make sure to update the TV’s firmware or software to the latest version. This will patch any known vulnerabilities. Additionally, you may want to change the login credentials for your smart TV accounts – for example, streaming services and app stores – to prevent unauthorized access.

Remember, if your smart TV has been hacked, it’s crucial to take action promptly to mitigate potential risks to your digital security. 

How to protect smart TV from hackers

Let’s look at the top tips to protect smart TV from hackers. 

1. Keep your software up-to-date

Regularly update your smart TV’s firmware and apps. Manufacturers frequently release updates to fix vulnerabilities and strengthen security. Ensuring your device is running the latest software is an essential step towards protecting it from potential attacks.

2. Setup strong passwords

Create strong, unique passwords for your smart TV, streaming accounts, and home network. Avoid using common or easily guessable passwords. Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters to secure your accounts.

3. Disable unnecessary features

Disable any unnecessary features or settings that you don’t use regularly. Turning off features like voice recognition or automatic content downloads can reduce potential vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit.

4. Secure your WiFi network

Protect your home network by setting up a strong WiFi password. Avoid using default network names or weak passwords. Moreover, if you suspect someone else may be using your WiFi, immediately update your credentials to safeguard your online privacy.

5. Install a VPN

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help safeguard your smart TV’s internet connection and protect your data from being intercepted. A reliable no-log VPN, such as PureVPN, encrypts your network traffic, making it harder for hackers to gain access to your smart TV’s data.

6.  Regularly check for updates

Apart from keeping your smart TV updated, ensure all connected devices, such as routers and smartphones, are running the latest firmware and security patches. Hackers often take advantage of vulnerabilities in these devices to gain access to your smart TV.

Exercise caution when clicking on links or downloading files sent via email or text messages. Hackers often use phishing techniques to trick users into revealing login credentials or installing malware on their devices.

On a final note

If you love streaming movies, TV shows, sports, and music on your smart TVs, it’s important to stay vigilant and aware of the signs that your device may have been hacked. 

Regularly monitoring your smart TV for unusual behavior, securing your network, and implementing strong security measures can protect you from potential security breaches. By taking proactive steps to secure your entertainment systems, you and your family can continue to enjoy the best entertainment experience while protecting your online privacy.

Prevention is better than cure, and with the right knowledge and precautions, you can ensure your smart TV remains a safe and enjoyable part of your streaming experience.

To learn more about how to protect your smart devices from cyber attacks, please visit PureVPN Blog. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Have Your Say!!

Join 3 million+ users to embrace internet freedom

Signup for PureVPN to get complete online security and privacy with a hidden IP address and encrypted internet traffic.