Samsung Urges TV Users To Carry Out Virus Scans

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Image credit: Samsung

Alert underscores the difficulty of protecting myriads of internet-connected home devices

Samsung has advised users of its smart television sets to scan them regularly for viruses.

Prevent malicious software attacks on your TV by scanning for viruses on your TV every few weeks,” the firm said on Twitter.

It provided a video illustrating the cumbersome process needed to launch the television sets’ built-in virus scanning software, which involves more than a dozen keypresses to access a sub-menu.

In response to concerns that the message had been given out due to the appearance of a particular threat, Samsung told the BBC the information was “posted for customer’s education”.

Samsung’s QLED smart television. Image credit: Samsung

Device risk

The firm later deleted its post, after the short video clip had been viewed more than 200,000 times.

Industry watchers questioned why Samsung did not simply automate the task or provide an on-screen prompt.

The incident underscores the difficulty of protecting internet-connected home devices such as televisions and routers from security threats.

Researchers have long warned of the potential of large-scale attacks on such devices, with botnets that specifically target smart TVs emerging last year.

To date they have mostly targeted televisions and set-top boxes based on Android.

Security

Samsung’s televisions are powered by its own Linux-derived Tizen operating system, which researchers in 2017 found to contain more than 40 zero-day vulnerabilities.

In the same year, WikiLeaks disclosed that the CIA had developed software called “Weeping Angel” that could turn Samsung TVs into listening devices.

At the time Samsung released a blog post outlining the security features of its television sets.

“At Samsung, security is a top priority,” the firm said.

In 2015 the company warned users not to discuss personal information in front of its smart televisions, as they could transmit it to third parties.

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