Smart TV’s are quickly becoming one of the most popular household smart gadgets – because they’re pretty amazing! Most of them come ready with both free and subscription entertainment services like Netflix, Crackle, and YouTube already installed. The majority of these TV’s are also able to run Android apps. Unfortunately, though, like with most things, there is a catch. With these amazing capabilities also comes a risk.
Many smart TV users like to take advantage of the Android apps that allow them to watch television channels from all over the world that they wouldn’t usually be able to. But within that benefit is also the catch, those apps may not be safe. Some of these apps contain a backdoor that abuses an old (but still dangerous) flaw in older android versions (before Lollipop 5.0) that allowed attackers to execute arbitrary code (CVE-201407911), and many of the smart TV’s currently on the market are still using these older versions of Android that contain this flaw.
But how can you distinguish the safe apps from the malicious ones? Unfortunately, you really can’t. But below, we’ve compiled a list of some sites known to serve malware to smart TV’s.
How to protect your smart TV
As I mentioned above, there really is no way to tell if the app you’re using on your smart TV is safe. The malicious apps don’t look any different than the safe apps, nor do users usually find them under suspicious circumstances. Smart TV owners are often cleverly lured onto the websites that serve the malware infected apps and are then encouraged to install the app to make the international channels available. Once the app is installed, the attackers can immediately trigger the vulnerability in the system.
Although it’s possible to upgrade smart TV’s to the latest version of Android, which would eliminate the flaw, this proves to be challenging due to hardware limitations. The easiest way to protect your TV from malicious malware is by not installing apps from third-party sites. We would also recommend installing protection solutions on your device – in case you just have to have that app from a third-party site and can’t tell if it’s safe or not.