Best-selling Roku devices and Samsung TVs found to be vulnerable to hacks
Best-selling Roku devices and Samsung TVs found to be vulnerable to hacks
Roku, Samsung smart TVs vulnerable to hackers, Consumer Reports says
08 February, 2018, 10:30
After analyzing top TV brands in a broad privacy and security evaluation, Consumer Reports found that Samsung and TCL's Roku TVs both have security flaws that can be easily exploited by hackers.
"To become a victim, a TV user would need to be using a phone or laptop running on the same Wi-Fi network as the television, and then visit a site or download a mobile app with malicious code", said Consumer Reports. Without much effort, a hacker could take control of a flawed smart TV, change channels, mess with the volume, install apps and play inappropriate content from those apps. They included models sold by Samsung as well as Chinese-TV maker TCL that use a particular feature by the streaming media device company Roku.
But, since these are "smart" TVs, with apps and other bells and whistles that connect directly to the internet, you shouldn't be surprised if those screens can be hacked into and, at the very least, allow outsiders to track what it is you are watching, or, maybe not supposed to be watching.
So, you took advantage of all those Christmas sales and got yourself a new smart TV. If you've snapped up a smart TV, with built-in Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and other Web connections, heads up on this warning - your smart TV could make you vulnerable to hackers and is probably monitoring more of your viewing than you realize.
The Consumer Reports test hacked into the TCL/Roku TV by using a feature Roku created that allows for remote control access of the Roku, software which could be used, for instance, to let you use your iPhone as a remote.
In a blog post, Roku's Gary Ellison describes the Consumer Reports study as a "mischaracterization of a feature".
"There is no security risk to our customers' accounts or the Roku platform", Roku.
As for the privacy concerns and data collection, Consumer Reports found that all the streaming sets collected information on viewing habits, what and how you watch, and save the information to be able to target ads or even recommend similar shows.
On Sony TVs, you'll have to get go back to the setup, available within Settings, to turn off ACR.
While we're proud of our own testing process here at TrustedReviews, it's fair to say Consumer Reports carries a lot of weight with shoppers, especially in the US.
Streaming devices are also vulnerable with the example cited being the Roku Ultra.
Last year, Vizio, a major smart TV producer, agreed to pay $2.2 million in a settlement over data it collected on 11 million TVs without consent.
Turn off ACR by going to Settings, then Privacy, and "Smart TV Experience".
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