It's finally happened. Remember all those science fiction series where men from the future call out, or make hand gestures to switch channels on their televisions? Well the world of interactive, Internet-connected, smart TVs has dawned on us, giving us equal or even better versions of the fictional TV sets we once believed to be so futuristic.
Smart TVs are televisions that come loaded with their own operating systems and a capability of connecting to the Internet. These allow them to run specialized applications or access other online sources of content and information. They can be configured to provide customized access to specific users so that children, for instance, can’t view inappropriate content without their parents allowing it.
They can be linked to a credit account so a pay-per-view episode is just a click away. They can even be used as a storage device and media player for other types of content like photos, music and videos. Given that watching shows or movies is usually considered a social catalyst, you can also update your Facebook status with a comment about a certain show or see what others are thinking about the same show right there on the smart TV.
At the rate that people are buying smart TVs, production of these devices are expected to increase from 69 million units in 2012 to 198 million in 2016. By then, 85% of flat panel TVs will be smart TVs.
Smart TVs add a new dimension to online user habits seeing as 60% of its users are expected to stream videos directly from it, 15% to stream music, 10% to browse the Web, and 6% to access files.
Since smart TVs ask for personal information to let users access their online accounts, it's logical to assume that cybercriminals will try to get to them. Once cybercriminals already have your information, they can launch brute force attacks to get even more data. This might not be too hard since majority of adults, 55% in UK, just use easy-to-guess passwords since smart TVs lack physical keyboards.
With these in mind, it is essential for smart TV owners to stay safe. Account protection, a secure home network, and programming control are crucial. Smart TV owners should use strong passphrases for streaming accounts, use strong login credentials for network routers, and invest in software that filters content and provides parental and security controls.
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