Home / Networking / ​How to keep your smart TV from spying on you

​How to keep your smart TV from spying on you


What do you know. The tin-foil hat brigade was right. Your smart TV may very well have been spying on you for the CIA and MI5. I can’t say I’m surprised.

Smart TVs are dumb. They have little security, their interfaces tend to be crap, and, oh yes, many smart TV models were already spying on you for their vendors.

cnettvlab14facebooktimelinebehindthescenescneteditorsatwork.jpg

Sarah Tew/CNET

I’m not just talking about tracking what you watch and when. Everyone does that. Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, etc.

If that worries you, go back to rabbit-ear TVs and dumb DVD players. You aren’t going to be a happy couch potato in today’s internet-entwined television world.

But smart TVs go far beyond tracking what you watch. I’m talking about some far more sneaky actions. Your smart TV may well be listening in to your conversations and even watching you from its built-in video camera.

Sound like science fiction? Nope, it’s already happened.

Take my Vizio M50-C1 50-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV. It’s a great TV with an excellent display. It just has this one little problem: When I first got it, it was tracking my viewing habits and sharing this data with advertisers… by default.

This Smart Interactivity “feature” works by watching what I watch — whether it’s by cable or streaming. It also records the date, time, and channel of programs and if I watched the show live or recorded. Vizio then takes all that data and connects it to my Internet Protocol (IP) address. With that much data, any big data analyst can know more about me — and not just my television watching habits — than my family does.

Vizio has changed its ways. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) forced Vizio to stop its snooping.

Then, there’s Samsung. It was revealed last year that some Samsung smart TV models can “capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features.”

OK, I can buy that. But, “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

I’m not happy with that. And I’m downright ticked off that Samsung doesn’t properly encrypt this data when it sends it home over the internet.

And we can’t forget LG. In 2013, LG wasn’t sure if its smart TVs were spying on you or not. I think we can safely assume it was spying.

So, what can you do? Well, it depends, as always, on the brand and model.

On the Vizio, which is the most troubling since it’s the only company — that we know of — that spies by default, you can turn off Smart Interactivity by following these steps from your TV.

  1. Press the menu button on your TV’s remote.
  2. Select settings.
  3. Highlight Smart Interactivity.
  4. Press right arrow to change setting to off.

The other TVs should be safe so long as you have the voice recognition features turned off.

“Should.”

You see I really don’t trust any of the TV vendors. The more data they can get about you, the better for their bottom line. And, come on, LG — you didn’t know if you were sucking data from your customers?

Even if you assume the TV vendors care about protecting their customers’ data, they don’t have the necessary security and network chops to protect your data. TV companies may be experts making great displays, but they’re not networking or security pros.

For example, Samsung’s data leak came about because its smart TVs were sending data over the 443 TCP socket. That sounds good. That’s the default socket for the secure HTTP over SSL protocol. What it was actually sending over this port was a mess made up of XML, binary packets, and some raw, unencrypted data.

I’m no hacker, but I could crack that. When the news broke that intelligence agencies were hacking smart TVs, that really wasn’t news. It would’ve been news if they hadn’t cracked such easy targets.

As South Korean security expert Seung-Jin Lee showed in 2013, there’s no security worthy of the name in most smart TVs. Lee showed 10 different vulnerabilities that would allow him to get a root shell on the device.

Root? Yes, you see this particular TV ran all of its applications as root. Which means, for those of you not from the Unix/Linux world, that a cracker would get absolute control over the “smart” TV.

I am absolutely sure there has been no improvement in smart TV security since then.

So, what can you do?

Well, for starters, don’t buy smart TVs in the first place. Apple TV and Roku, to name two, supply pretty much everything a smart TV does and more. Sure, they can have security holes as well, but at least they’re designed by people with a clue about security and network engineering.

What’s that? You already have a smart TV? Bite the bullet, disconnect it from the internet, and turn it into a dumb TV.

First, check to see if your TV will let you disconnect from your Wi-Fi network. If it won’t, reset it to its factory default setting. When it turns on again and goes through its setup routine, don’t give it your Wi-Fi password.

If you’re using Ethernet, do the same thing — except this time, you simply don’t plug it into your network.

Yes, this is drastic. But you really can’t trust smart TVs.

Don’t want to go that far? Then go deep through your TV’s list of commands and turn off anything that indicates it’s listening to you or sending data back to its home company. That may not work, but at least you’ll have tried.

And, if you think that’s bad, just wait until you add more Internet of Things devices to your home. Are you going to be able to keep track of what your car is saying about your driving habits, or what your electrical use tells about when you’re at home? Heck, what your health insurance provider thinks about the fact that you only use an IoT-enabled toothbrush once a day?

No, you’re not going to be able to manage this non-stop bleeding of personal data.

Me? I’ve lived on the internet for longer than many of you have been alive. I appreciate what it gives me, especially with television, but I choose to keep the TV vendors out of my personal life. I think you should too.

Related Stories:

VIDEO: Twitter doesn’t want police mining tweets to track protestors



Source link

About admin

Check Also

002.jpg

Five things I learned building a new Wi-Fi network

Getting a Wi-Fi network up and running is easy, but putting in place frustration-free Wi-Fi ...

48 comments

  1. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but
    I thought this post was good. I don’t know who you are but definitely
    you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  2. Wow, this paragraph is good, my younger sister is
    analyzing these things, thus I am going to convey her.

  3. GSA Search Engine Ranker Voucher Code is already integrated,
    merely click on Buy Now switch making your purchase.

    Here is my page: Nerve Renew (Leonor)

  4. We plan to be the one stop authority for SER Powerhouse,
    the device that connects Kontent Device as well as
    SER Online search engine Ranker with each other.

    Check out my web-site – quality supplement

  5. This website definitely has all the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  6. I’ve been browsing on-line more than 3 hours nowadays, but I by no means discovered any fascinating article like yours. It is beautiful price enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the net will be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  7. Trained lions and tigers would perform tricks alongside bears, beastarii would flaunt their talents as beast tamers, especially inside ancient bull fights.Maybe, Sweden will be the 1st country to officially outlaw religion in the long run, to know…There you’ve it folks, the 25 most Atheist nations inside world. Customer services facilities are essential and that means you are capable of request support or help if you encounter some technical difficulties.

  8. Hello there, I discovered your blog via Google while looking for a comparable subject, your site came up, it looks great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  9. This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

  10. Hey there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  11. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail. I’ve got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

  12. Remarkable! Its genuinely awesome article, I have got much clear idea concerning from this paragraph.

  13. We equip a wide variety of motorcycle accessories, clothes and
    also oils and also lubricating substances, for all makes of motorbike.

    Feel free to surf to my weblog; click here

  14. Hey would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at a honest price? Thanks, I appreciate it!Feel free to surf to my web site tory burch flats sale

  15. Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and include approximately all important infos. I would like to see more posts like this .

  16. Wow! This could be one particular of the most beneficial blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Magnificent. I am also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your effort.

  17. you are in reality a good webmaster. The website loading speed is amazing. It seems that you are doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve performed a magnificent process in this subject!

  18. This very blog is definitely educating and besides diverting. I have picked up helluva interesting advices out of this blog. I’d love to return over and over again. Thanks a lot!

  19. So you do need to plan out your week so you know what to eat and when. To summarize Fat Burning Furnace needs to be one of the, or even the most effective weight and losing fat training systems offered. Hope this article will help you in choosing the fat burning foods that suit your taste and availability in the food markets near you.

  20. Thanks for the strategies you are discussing on this weblog. Another thing I want to say is getting hold of copies of your credit history in order to inspect accuracy of any detail could be the first motion you have to perform in fixing credit. You are looking to clean your credit file from dangerous details problems that mess up your credit score.

  21. I am always invstigating online for posts that can assist me. Thank you!

  22. Coming from my research, shopping for consumer electronics online can for sure be expensive, although there are some how-to’s that you can use to help you get the best discounts. There are constantly ways to come across discount specials that could help make one to buy the best electronics products at the lowest prices. Great blog post.

  23. I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You are amazing! Thanks!

  24. Hurrah! At last I got a weblog from where I be able to actually obtain valuable data concerning my study and knowledge.

  25. It correlates with the amount of body unwanted fat. Your current various popular weight loss diets by Medifast, that you can make one you enjoy. Kim is proud of the hard work she has put in, and slammed rumors that she got weight-loss surgery or Photoshopped her selfies to look slimmer.

  26. Hey there are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you need any coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  27. I’m not sure why but this website is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  28. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I am quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  29. This can be a excellent understand for me, Need to disclose that you will be among the finest writers When i previously observed. Thanks for placing information.

  30. I happen to be writing to let you be aware of what a impressive discovery our daughter developed reading your webblog. She even learned such a lot of things, which include what it’s like to have a great giving mood to let others quite simply know precisely a variety of very confusing topics. You truly did more than our own expectations. Thanks for delivering the powerful, dependable, explanatory as well as easy tips on your topic to Gloria.

  31. excellent submit, very informative. I’m wondering why the other experts of this sector don’t realize this. You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

  32. I think this is among the most important info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The website style is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  33. Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog website? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

  34. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It absolutely useful and it has aided mme out loads.

  35. Nando shirtless is always a eyecatcher!

  36. Great work. I am looking forward for the same effective work from you in the future as well. I will subscribe to your feed please keep posting!

  37. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one these days..

  38. continuously i used to read smaller posts that as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this post which I am reading at this time.

  39. I think other web site proprietors should take this web site as an model, very clean and excellent user friendly style and design, as well as the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  40. Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects? Thanks!

  41. This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Thanks!

  42. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the structure for your weblog. Is that this a paid theme or did you modify it your self? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is uncommon to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..

  43. It is perfect time to make some plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I have learn this publish and if I may just I wish to recommend you few fascinating things or advice. Maybe you could write next articles relating to this article. I want to read more things approximately it!

  44. Wonderful article! That is the type of information that are supposed to be shared around the internet. Disgrace on the seek engines for now not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and visit my site . Thanks =)

  45. The Addiction Advocates; Lowell, opioid epidemic creates obstacles for CASA programs as well as volunteers that are not within their control: A lack of timely dependency treatment centers for parents, an absence of real estate and
    also task solutions as well as a foster treatment system seeking even more foster family
    members.

  46. Enter your e-mail address to register for Magpie Stories as well
    as obtain notices of new messages by email.

    Also visit my weblog; pub crawl Krakow (Kacey)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>