Consumer Reports Says Smart TVs Vulnerable to Hacking

Consumer Reports says that Smart TVs by Samsung and multiple brands that are powered by Roku are vulnerable to hacking.

While this particular hack won’t empty your bank account, it will allow the hacker to change the channel, volume and other settings.

What is even more interesting was the two vendor’s response to being contacted by Consumer Reports.

Samsung said that they would fix the problem as soon as technically feasible.

Roku said that it was feature;  that they published an interface to allow third party developers to control your TV and it didn’t compromise your Roku account on their server (which no one said it did).

Then they went further to say that you could disable that feature by clicking on SETTINGS, then ADVANCED SYSTEM SETTINGS, then EXTERNAL CONTROL, then DISABLED.

Call me dumb, but why wouldn’t you ship the system with that feature disabled and then allow the small minority that want to allow hackers or other third parties to control their TV to turn it on?

Separately, Consumer Reports said that all these TVs raise privacy concerns by collecting very detailed information.

Besides collecting all your viewing data and selling it, many have microphones and collect audio all the time.

Vizio paid a multi-million dollar fine last year for failing to disclose that feature.  Now Vizio says, in the manual, do not discuss anything sensitive in the same room as the TV.  Nice.

Consumer reports does say that you can limit the data collected by the TV by disabling the features you paid extra for when you bought a smart TV.  In other words, if you turn the smart TV into a dumb TV, it won’t collect data.  Or be very smart.

You could replace your iPhone with a rotary dial land line to improve security also, but that kind of misses the point.

Information for this post came from CNET.


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