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Steve asked: “I have a Samsung TV which seems to do its own thing and I heard earlier how they are being hacked and we have had the same thing happen. It is truly bizarre and I’m trying to figure out how we can prevent that. And how are you guys so consistently funny?”
Steve, the only Samsung SmartTV exploit we’ve heard about is the CIA’s own Weeping Angel that affected Samsung F-Series TVs, but required physical access to a USB port to infect the TV. This malware could make the TV appear to be off, while it was actually on and recording what was going on around it.
There have been more generic proof-of-concepts that attacked other TV brands and models, including some that could do it via airwaves but using a standard that’s not currently in use in the US, but we haven’t seen any real-world exploits come out of those. Generally speaking, hackers are less interested in TVs because they usually” use some other gateway to store financial and other sensitive information.
Typing in credit card information is pretty hard on a TV, and very public if you have guests, so it’s common for Smart TVs to just ask you to log in and use the information stored online by the service you’re choosing to use. That means that they’re not as interesting to hackers as what they could get by going after your phone or computer.
As for preventing attacks, other than keeping your TV offline and using it as a dumb set, the best way you can prevent anyone hacking into it is probably to just keep it running the latest firmware.
By the way, you should have your TV looked at, it’s more likely that it’s defective and that’s why it’s doing its own thing, than that it’s been hacked. A lot of people have had problems with Samsung TVs doing “their own thing” and it seems it’s mostly related to defective components that were sending out the wrong signals and causing strange behavior like channels changing or Netflix randomly opening.