So, you took advantage of all those Christmas sales and got yourself a new smart TV. And now you're lounging about on your sofa, streaming the new Netflix series "Altered Carbon" or catching up on Hulu's Emmy award-winning dystopian drama "The Handmaid's Tale," in all the glory that ultra-high def/4K video can give you. And if you got one on a zero-interest-for-18-months deal, then give yourself an even bigger pat on the back.
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.
An analysis by Consumer Reports said many of the leading smart TV brands are vulnerable to hacks by people outside your living room. The study found that the five biggest TV brands in the United States -- Samsung, LG, Sony, TCL and Vizio -- were all susceptible to having programs tracked by hackers, and that it was possible for outsiders to get into two of the brands, Samsung and the Roku TV from TCL, and take full remote control of the TVs.
Glenn Derene, Consumer Reports senior director of content, called the ability of a hacker to get into one of the smart TVs "frightening".
Consumer Reports said it was able to hack into TCL's Roku TV via a feature that Roku created, which lets a viewer use a smartphone, or other platform, to act like a remote control. Roku, of Los Gatos, responded in a blog post Wednesday, saying that Consumer Reports "got it wrong" with how it described the ease by which someone could hack into its TV from TCL.
"This is a mischaracterization of a feature," Roku said in its blog post. The company added that third-party developers are able to create remote control applications by using an open interface that the company designed and published, and which can be turned off by going into the TV's system settings and disabling the feature.
"There is no security risk to our customers' accounts or the Roku platform," Roku.
But, like anything involving a home network, customers are advised to use a password to prevent unwanted access to their Wi-Fi system.
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