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Cybersecurity threats predicted to come through smart TVs

A new raft of cybersecurity threats are predicted to come about as a result of smart TVs, industry experts have warned.

Cyber criminals are making the most of the lack of security defences in place on smart TVs, many of which lag way behind those implemented on desktops PCs and smartphones.

As smart TVs run operating systems, they offer an easy target to cyber criminals as security has not been put at the forefront of their design – rather, ease of use has been given priority by manufacturers. The devices are basically computers – they boast networking options and USB ports much like smartphones.

According to data from Research and Markets, the cybersecurity threat posed by smart TVs looks set to grow as sales of the devices skyrocket between now and 2019. The data showed an expected rise of more than 20 per cent over that time period.

Phil Marshall, chief research officer for Tolaga Research, told PC World: "Many of the solutions aren’t even adapting the best practices that are already known in the IT world. The ecosystem is fragmented, and there is an emphasis on getting the solution to market quickly.”

Smart TVs also pose a security risk due to the software updates that are downloaded onto them. Some do not use any encryption – notably SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) – when they are working on downloading updates. This means that hackers could potentially access the device and download malicious firmware onto it, which would bridge its hardware and operating system at startup.

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