Android TV

Android TV: How to deal with security issues?

Android TV is a class of smart TV that connects to the internet. It lets you install apps, stream video from services like Netflix and Hulu,  run games, and use a web browser. This may even include voice control and webcam features. But this advanced technology has a darker side, which may leave this smart TV vulnerable to privacy intrusion, security risks, and hacking. Since Android is an open platform, it is more vulnerable to attacks since the hackers have more information about the same.

If you are planning to buy an Android-based TV, or already have one, the following are the privacy and security issues one should be aware of. There are also tips for how to deal with them.


Android TV Privacy and Security Issues


Privacy issue to be aware of with Android TV

Android-based smart TV presents both privacy and security risks. Privacy issues include personal data and habits being monitored and sold. The security concerns involve viruses and hackers.

Google has one privacy policy across the company’s products regarding collecting the data to sell ads or to recommends other content like YouTube videos. The data collected include terms one searches for, videos one watch, views, and interaction with content and ads, voice and audio information, purchase activity, people with whom you communicate or share content, etc. These smart TV does not perform ACR which is called Automatic Content Recognition. While one can block ads and limit ad tracking on mobile phones and computers, these options are less available on these smart TV. But there is something you can do (see below).


Android TV security issues

Are these TV’s vulnerable to viruses?

While privacy issues may be troublesome, they do not really affect on a day-to-day basis. However, security issues have more serious implications. Since this smart TV is Linux based, there are no viruses but only malware.

Microphone and camera create a surveillance device

Many Android TV has been enabled with voice features for search and control of the TV. They have cameras for video chat and games. The options provide a new experience to the consumer but they also invite security concerns. Android TV is basically a computer running that is running an operating system. Hence, these devices are as risky as computers. These smart TVs have cameras, microphones, and a file system. If the hackers gain access to these devices, it means that it can see you through the camera, listens to your conversation, and steal one’s data. The attacker could use the smart TV to gain access to other devices connected to the network.


How to Deal With Security and Privacy Issues

Android phone
Picture source:Pixabay

Let us make you ready to protect your privacy and security from potential threats. Here are some points to consider:

1. Do not connect your TV to the internet

This is the only sure, foolproof way to prevent privacy and security risks. Since these threats are internet related, not connecting a smart TV to the internet thwarts these attacks. But as it is a smart TV, without internet it loses its edge so keep reading to protect yourselves from cybersecurity threats.

2. Choose the most restrictive option during the setup

When setting up your TV, you may be given the option to enable features, opt for data sharing and connectivity, and similar choices.It is advisable to limit the privacy exposure.For example for disabling data collection settings in Android TV, do the following:

  • Head to Settings, scroll down to a section labeled Personal, click Usage and diagnostics and make sure that tab is switched to off. 
  • To manage other data Google has on you, such as YouTube and search histories and web and activity data, head to myactivity.google.com

3. Learn your TV settings

The TV operating system is not as refined and user friendly as a computer or phone OSes.It is recommended that you understand the TV settings to protect yourself from any security breach.

4. Update your TV operating system regularly

It is recommended to update the TV OS with security patches regularly. These patches fix security holes in the operating system and make the TV viewing experience more secure.

5. Cover your TV camera

If you are not planning to use the TV camera, then it is recommended to cover the same. It is better to be safe than sorry.

6. Turn off your Android TV microphone

If in your smart TV, you do not need voice-activation features then turn off the microphone in the TV settings.

7.Use strong security on your router

Android TV will be a lot more secure if it is connected to a router with strong security. Make sure to put a strong password and enable encryption.

8.Virus scanner for the TV

Although, Android-based TV does not have an inbuilt virus scanner one can sideload the apps.Do the following on the Android TV:

  • Download any good antivirus app from a trusted source.
  • Transfer it to the TV using a thumb drive and install it.
  • Once installed, run the install and hit the scan button.

Conclusion

In summary, Android-based TV has many features which is alluring to the consumer. But they also come with security risks and hence it is very important to know the full functionality of Android-based Smart TV so that user privacy and security can be maintained.


Would you like to know about Android phones and how to prevent it from being hacked? Click here.

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