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Samsung warns owners of its QLED TVs to scan for VIRUSES (then quickly deletes the tweet)

Samsung warns owners of its QLED TVs to scan for VIRUSES (then quickly deletes the tweet)

  • Samsung told users to check their TVs for viruses in a since-deleted tweet
  • The tweet generated concern among users who worried about a security breach
  • The company says the tweet was meant for routine maintenance 
  • Smart TVs have been proven to be vulnerable to hackers in the past 

Some Samsung customers raised alarm after a tweet sent out by the company suggested owners of its smart TV’s might want to scan their devices for malware. 

The tweet, which has since been deleted, specifically singled out one of its newest smart TV models, the QLED — quantum dot LED — and included a ‘how-to’ on initiating the scan.

Its built-in virus check can be conducted by going to General Settings > System Manager > Smart Security > Scan. 

The move baffled many Samsung users who then questioned the security of their devices.  

A since-deleted tweet caused some concern among Samsung customers who were told to scan their smart TV's for viruses

A since-deleted tweet caused some concern among Samsung customers who were told to scan their smart TV’s for viruses

‘Scanning your computer for malware viruses is important to keep it running smoothly. This also is true for your QLED TV if it’s connected to Wi-Fi!’ read the now-deleted tweet.

‘Prevent malicious software attacks on your TV by scanning for viruses on your TV every few weeks…’

According to a report by Gizmodo, the tweet singled out the company’s QLED smart TV’s because of the particular operating system used by the device which allows it to run a web browser and an app store. 

While the tweet was intended as a brief tutorial, some users were understandably concerned with its implications. 

In one tweet to Samsung’s customers support account, a concerned user asked if the tutorial was in response to any particular security incident. 

‘Hi – did any particular threat prompt this tweet?,’ tweeted one user. 

In a response, Samsung assuaged the user’s concerns.

Some users on Twitter were confused as to why they would have to scan their devices in the first place

Some users on Twitter were confused as to why they would have to scan their devices in the first place

‘Hello Leo! Thanks for reaching out to us! The video was posted for customer’s education and to have it as a troubleshooting step. Let us know if you have any other questions!…’

Others questioned why they would even have to scan their devices to begin with. 

‘Aren’t your operating systems based on Linux? Do you just give root access to whoever asks for it on whatever device? Why am I having to worry about the security for an operating system that requires me to enter my root password to install anything?,’ wrote one user in a response to the tweet. 

Fortunately for Samsung’s customers, the company’s unprompted tutorial doesn’t appear to be in response to an underlying breach, and while that knowledge is worth breathing a sigh of relief over, it doesn’t mean owners of smart TV’s are in the clear.

Samsung's QLED TV's were singled out in a tweet presumably for their use of the company's own smart TV operating system which supports a browser and app store

Samsung’s QLED TV’s were singled out in a tweet presumably for their use of the company’s own smart TV operating system which supports a browser and app store

In the past, Samsung’s smart TV’s were discovered to be one of several brands of internet-connected TV’s that contain vulnerabilities that allow hackers to seize control of operations. 

The flaw allowed malicious actors to change channels, play YouTube videos, and control the volume and more.

Samsung was also at the center of a controversy in 2015 when it was accused of spying on its customers by recording what they say through its TV’s internal microphones. 

TV’s are among the many internet-connected home devices — the internet of things —  which can and have fallen prey to hackers. As a result, most security experts agree that like one’s phone or computer, owners would be wise to conduct routine security maintenance to ensure their security is up to par.  

In response to several hacks and privacy concerns, Samsung began offering virus scanning in its TV’s in 2017. 

WHICH SMART HOUSEHOLD GADGETS ARE VULNERABLE TO CYBER ATTACKS?

From devices that order our groceries to smart toys that speak to our children, high-tech home gadgets are no longer the stuff of science fiction.

But even as they transform our lives, they put families at risk from criminal hackers taking advantage of security flaws to gain virtual access to homes.

A June 2017 Which? study tested whether popular smart gadgets and appliances, including wireless cameras, a smart padlock and a children’s Bluetooth toy, could stand up to a possible hack.

The survey of 15 devices found that eight were vulnerable to hacking via the internet, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections. 

Scary: Which? said ethical hackers broke into the CloudPets  toy and made it play its own voice messages. They said any stranger could use the method to speak to children from outside

Scary: Which? said ethical hackers broke into the CloudPets toy and made it play its own voice messages. They said any stranger could use the method to speak to children from outside

The test found that the Fredi Megapix home CCTV camera system operated over the internet using a default administrator account without a password, and Which? found thousands of similar cameras available for anyone to watch the live feed over the internet.

The watchdog said that a hacker could even pan and tilt the cameras to monitor activity in the house.

SureCloud hacked the CloudPets stuffed toy, which allows family and friends to send messages to a child via Bluetooth and made it play its own voice messages.

Which? said it contacted the manufacturers of eight affected products to alert them to flaws as part of the investigation, with the majority updating their software and security. 

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