The term malicious software refers to all those programs that, installed on a device, can have a series of visible and invisible consequences. These programs not only include common viruses, which aim to infect computers for illegal operations, such as the theft of sensitive data or the destruction of hardware, but also lines of code that have as their ultimate goal the control and indexing of user habits, also known with the English terms malware, spyware or adware.
Consumers, unaware of the presence of the software that acts without giving any sign, continue to perform daily activities such as viewing videos, news, purchases, without their knowledge sending this data to whoever created the “malware”, so that they can reuse them for their own purposes such as reselling the information to other companies.
These programs are no longer created solely for computers as both desktops and notebooks are now devices used by a narrow range of users compared to those who always have a smartphone, tablet or even a smart TV with them.
According to recent reports, it is precisely the latter that are being targeted by companies who want to acquire as much data as possible about your habits, such as what happened with the Samba TV company. The software created by the company is installed in a wide range of smart TVs in the US and can record everything that is displayed on the screen, be it commercials, movies, TV series or cartoons.
Based on the program you watch the most, it can assume with some certainty even for whom you vote, thus revealing itself to be a powerful weapon in the hands of those who want to create ad hoc commercials and send them to a certain slice of the public.
What is a smart TV?
Smart TV, for less informed users, is a new type of television that is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its ability to connect to the internet via the home connection using the Ethernet cable, to be hooked directly to the modem / router, or the wireless module to avoid the clutter of cables.
The possibility of using the web on their TV is much appreciated by those who want to surf while comfortably seated on the sofa but above all by users who have a subscription to multimedia content streaming services (among the most famous Netflix, Tim Vision, Amazon Prime Video , Infinity and the new DAZN for those who love sports). By accessing the catalog of downloadable applications you can choose the one that best suits your needs, just as if it were a smartphone or tablet.
It is reasonable to expect that, with a greater diffusion of Smart TVs also in our country, such systems will begin to be exploited. How can we defend ourselves against these blatant violations of privacy? The only way is to always pay close attention when installing applications, whether on your mobile or home devices.
In fact, in order not to break the law, they must inform you of all the consequences. By reading the notice that appears at the time of installation, you can decide whether to accept the terms of the service or reject them. Many buyers, however, do not bother to inquire about a real contract that they are signing by pressing the “accept” button but we must understand that the virtual world of the internet has consequences that are also reflected on the tangible world.
Fault of the producers?
In some cases, however, the fault does not lie solely with the users as some manufacturers enter into partnerships with these data collection companies, allowing the installation and execution of the software well before the device arrives in the hands of consumers, who find themselves thus completely unaware of the execution of malware on their electronic accessories.
What can be done in this case? It is good to know that any installed application can, fortunately, also be uninstalled. When purchasing the TV, therefore, carefully check in the settings menu, under the heading “Applications”, which are the pre-installed programs and if there are any names that do not convince you and that do not correspond to services recognized at the level global (such as video streaming applications such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video) search the internet to see if it could be malware. Once the potentially malicious program has been identified, you can uninstall it from the application menu quickly and quickly.
Smart TV virus
Although it may seem a worrying and tangible scenario, the arrival of real viruses capable of destroying your Smart TV is currently far away as they should first bypass the application control system by companies.
However, it is not a problem to be underestimated since the most savvy users may have a certain familiarity in circumventing the rules imposed by virtual shops, installing software they do not know the origin of, or, those less careful, while browsing the web they could click on unreliable links. . Often the latter refer to the download of potentially dangerous applications for computers, so they should not, for the moment, have any success on a smart TV.
However, we do not know when and if downloadable viruses will be produced that can infect the TV, so always pay attention and only surf on safe and certified sites since there are not yet available antiviruses calibrated to deal with such a threat.
The best way to prevent problems of this nature is always to not install anything unless you have read all the terms of the contract, even if it takes a little longer, and to avoid downloading applications from the internet without any control. by Smart TV manufacturers. These warnings also apply to users who instead make more use of other devices such as smartphones, tablets or computers, both fixed and portable.