Chromecast is a great way to cast things from your computer to your TV set. But, can Chromecast get a virus? What if your computer has a virus? Can you spread it to your TV? Can you catch viruses if you’re screen mirroring?
The popularity of any new digital gadget always gets the attention of hackers who want to use your devices for bad. Therefore, you have to ask yourself, can you get hacked through Chromecast?
Even if all of the above does not happen, what about privacy? Does Chromecast collect data?
All of these questions are valid. Therefore, today we’re going to flesh out these questions. However, we’re also going to show you how to secure your device as well.
- Can Chromecast Get a Virus?
- Can You Be Hacked Through Chromecast?
- Can Your TV Get a Virus From Screen Mirroring?
- Does Chromecast Collect Information?
- How to Secure Your Chromecast?
- A Well Protected Chromecast
Can Chromecast Get a Virus?
Chromecast is created using Linux. Linux has always been thought of as a safer way of programming. However, with the popularity of Linux’s usage comes the inevitable attention of hackers trying to impose viruses and malware.
Unfortunately, these days, any computer device can get a virus. But how does that pertain to a Chromecast device?
Fortunately for Chromecast, viruses have not happened yet. Although in the world of computers it’s only a matter of time. In other words, no, Chromecast cannot get viruses.
But are there other threats? Can Chromecast get hacked?
Can You Be Hacked Through Chromecast?
A Chromecast device works in conjunction with your wifi network. You need access to your wifi password and network to cast to your TV. Therefore, Chromecast cannot get hacked from within. Someone needs your password and your wifi network to break into it. The better question is, are there other ways of breaking into a Chromecast?
As it turns out, an internet security firm known as Bishop Fox discovered a security flaw on this popular casting device. This flaw exposes Chromecast to “deauth” attacks.
A deauth attack is an attack in which a hacker can reset your Chromecast from anywhere in the world. Once the device resets, it waits for the user to tell it which wifi network to start streaming from.
That’s when the hacker gets in and takes control of your device. This can happen instantly.
Since then, thousands of Chromecasts have been hijacked.
Although, “hacked” is a strong word in this case because they are not breaking into your device. Instead, they’re disconnecting it and reconnecting it to their own network.
Even so, a Chromecast device is susceptible to brute force attacks if someone guesses your wifi network and password.
This leaves you open to watching some unfavorable content during family time.
Although that’s not a good thing, Google has taken steps to secure its Chromecasts. However, this leaves us with more questions than answers.
If your Chromecast gets a virus, can screen mirroring spread it to your computer?
Let’s find out.
Can Your TV Get a Virus From Screen Mirroring?
Screen mirroring works by sending pixels from one device to another. However, your device cannot transmit viruses from one to another, even if your computer has a virus.
The only risk with screen mirroring is accidentally sharing things you might not want to share with others.
So, rest assured, screen mirroring is safe.
Does Chromecast Collect Information?
Big companies like Google are notoriously known for collecting data through their apps and devices. Therefore, it makes you wonder, does Chromecast collect information? If so, what type of information?
According to Google, individual Chromecast devices do not collect data. However, Google TVs and other Smart devices with Chromecast built-in do.
Google states that they collect data about your usage, including crash reports.
However, Google collects identifying information like bank information, address and location, billing, and other commercial information.
Other types of collected data include demographic information such as geographical location for marketing purposes as well as third-party permissions you’ve granted your device.
Additionally, any hardware such as modems, phone boxes, and all software included are collected as data.
Google says that other applications such as web browsers and applications used are permitted to collect data. Therefore Google is not the only entity collecting data from your Chromecast.
Now that you’re appropriately frightened, what is the best way to secure your Chromecast?
Although you might not be able to opt out of data collecting, you can still secure yourself from viruses, hackers, and malware.
How to Secure Your Chromecast?
What is the best way to secure your Chromecast from a potential attack?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself. However, the more protection you have, the more secure your network becomes. So we are going to list a few different things you can do.
1) Create a Strong Password
Thinking of a strong password is always tricky. However, a strong password is vital with hackers using brute force attacks these days. But how do you create a strong password you can remember?
With all the password rules you need to follow these days, I’ve created a simple way to make one that’s easy to remember and follows all the rules. Create a sentence out of your password. For example, you can try “1)IsSaturnMyFav0ritePlanet?”
This password meets every requirement for a strong password, and it’s easy to remember. You have special characters, uppercase, and lowercase letters and numbers.
Remember this tip for later.
2) Don’t Use Strange Email Clients
Many large email clients spend a lot of money on cyber security. Therefore it’s best if you use an email client like Gmail.
Don’t use smaller third-party email clients because chances are they haven’t secured their line of defense yet.
3) Use 2-Factor Authentication
If you can, using 2-Factor Authentication is a great way to keep your devices and websites secure.
2-Factor Authentication is rapidly being recognized as a great security tool against cyber hacking.
It secures your devices by using two data points that only you know, which often include your telephone.
One common form of 2-Factor Authentication is using your facial recognition software and a password to get into your apps. This is secure because if a hacker wants to hack you, they’ll need a map of your face as well.
2-Factor Authentication makes it hard for hackers to break in. The more data points, firewalls, and passwords you have protecting your device, the harder it is to penetrate your forces.
4) Stay Sharp and Avoid Clickbait and Phishing Scams
Now you have a strong password and legitimate email address, but you’re still worried about hackers and viruses. Here’s one thing you can do that will reduce your chances of an attack.
Stay away from websites that look illegitimate. If it feels unkempt and abandoned, chances are the owner of that website hasn’t taken the proper steps to secure it, allowing viruses and malware to seep in.
Don’t click on pop-up ads. Pop-up ads are known to have viruses and bad links. Use a good pop-up blocker to help you avoid these.
Avoid all spam emails or emails from unknown recipients. Many hackers use phishing techniques to bait you into clicking on bad code and malicious links that give them access to your devices.
5) Use a VPN
VPNs are fantastic tools. VPNs act as a shield that blocks all unwanted data from your device. In other words, hackers cannot access or view anything on your computer devices.
They’re also quick to install and relatively inexpensive. Even if your wifi fails, VPNs have a “kill switch” that immediately blocks unwanted intruders, data, or malware from entering your device.
One VPN subscription works on all your devices. Therefore, you can use it on your computer, smartphone, and modem.
This is one sure way to keep your Chromecast safe.
6) Don’t Use the Guest Profile
Guest mode on the Chromecast is convenient, mainly because it creates its own wifi signal.
However, to create a wifi signal, the Chromecast must emit an inaudible beacon to any device with a Chromecast-enabled app.
You then enter a PIN that allows you to pair it manually. But this is easily intercepted by other devices around you, leading to hacking and unwanted guests.
It’s better to disable this feature on your device.
A Well Protected Chromecast
Although your Chromecast will rarely get a virus, hackers always try their worst with popular gadgets. Therefore, the best thing to do is to use caution and protect yourself using as many as the above mentioned methods.
Overall, protecting yourself against hackers and viruses shouldn’t take away from the joy of viewing your favorite internet movie through your Chromecast.
James Quintanilla is a technical copywriter. Although his experience allows him to write on many topics, he loves to focus on tech and travel. As a freelancer, James has worked on projects with Pointer Clicker, Lonely Planet, and the Travel Channel. When he’s not writing or planning his next adventure, he’s watching a scary movie.