Your smart TV has been glitching lately and you’re beginning to worry that something may be wrong with its software.
You’ve heard of computers getting a virus, but should you be worried about your smart TV meeting the same fate?
What exactly is a virus and how do you know if your smart TV has one?
If you do discover your smart TV has a virus, what should you do to get rid of it?
Put on your hazmat suit because we’re about to learn all about viruses, smart TVs, and how to keep your devices out of a hacker’s reach.
Let’s get started!
What Is a Computer Virus?
A computer virus is a set of code or software meant to corrupt and/or steal your information.
There are different types of viruses (e.g. ransomware, browser hijacker, file infector), but they all share a common goal: to control your device, steal your data, and spread.
On computers, these viruses are typically spread by users clicking on links and downloading malicious files.
You will notice that your device will begin to lag, crash, or open and close apps by itself. You may also see pop-up windows randomly opening and find that you can’t close them.
You may also find that your accounts are being logged out of or taken over. For example, your friends and family may receive eery messages inviting them to click on a link for a new iPhone.
Can a Smart TV Get a Virus?
Yes, a smart TV can get a virus.
Your smart TV is not immune to getting viruses. These viruses usually infect the OS system (i.e. Android) rather than the TV itself.
There have been recorded instances of smart TVs being infected with a virus that would cause the Android logo to suddenly pop up on-screen.
Let’s go over the ways that smart TVs can be exposed to viruses and malware.
From the Internet
Your smart TV can contract a virus from the internet. You could click on a link found in your browser or sent to you by a friend who has also been hacked.
Illegally downloading movies onto your smart TV also puts you at risk of getting a virus since many of the bootleg movie sites contain malicious files disguised as your favorite films.
There are also some Android apps that have malware, such as Jump Jump, Assassin Legend, and Find Hidden.
Always be careful of which apps you download onto your devices and research them first.
From a USB Stick
USB sticks can carry viruses from one device to another. For instance, you could plug your USB into your infected computer, then plug it into your TV, transferring the virus to it.
The scary part is you don’t even need to drag and drop any files onto your USB stick for this to happen.
Alternatively, you could download a virus onto your computer disguised as an innocent file, like a movie or game, then transfer the file to your USB stick. Plugging the USB into your TV and transferring the file to it will instantly infect it with the virus.
Another way to corrupt your smart TV with a virus via a USB stick is by downloading code claiming to be your TV’s firmware update. Googling your TV’s make and model followed by “firmware update” will often reveal a long list of websites claiming to have your TV’s newest firmware.
Only download your smart TV’s firmware update from the brand’s official website. If you’re ever unsure of where to download the firmware update, always contact customer service to avoid installing any viruses onto both your computer and smart TV.
How To Check if Your Smart TV Has a Virus?
Many smart TVs have a built-in virus scanner.
Smart TVs, namely Samsung smart TVs, have a built-in virus scanner.
This is great because you won’t put yourself at risk by downloading antivirus software (which are often viruses in disguise) and transferring it to your TV via a USB stick.
Every smart TV will work slightly differently, so consult your user manual or contact customer support to see how to use your smart TV’s virus scanner.
To check if your smart TV has a virus, go to your TV’s Settings menu and click on General.
Open the System Manager and select Smart Security. Press Scan and do not turn off or use your smart TV until the scan is complete.
How To Get Rid of Viruses on a Smart TV?
Factory resetting your smart TV is a good way to get rid of viruses.
Although factory resetting will remove all personal data and apps from your TV, it is a good option if you need to get rid of any malware.
It will delete all data and code besides your TV’s out-of-the-box settings.
Warning: Do not download antiviruses from random websites off the internet. They may contain malicious code and further infect your TV.
The process of factory resetting your TV will be different depending on its make and model.
However, you usually need to go to its Settings menu and click Reset under General.
Some TVs will ask for a confirmation pin. If you have not set a pin for your TV, try entering either “1234” or “0000”.
Click Reset and Yes to confirm your choice.
Do not turn off, unplug, or use your TV while it’s resetting.
We also recommend changing the passwords to any accounts you had on your smart TV (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc).
Going forward, be careful about what you download onto your TV and consider scanning your USB stick for viruses.
Wrapping Things Up
Viruses on your smart TV are a pain, but they’re usually more of a nuisance rather than an urgent cause for concern.
If you find a virus on your smart TV, stay calm and try factory resetting it. It’s also a good idea to give customer service a call for further guidance.
Remember that viruses can be transmitted from one device to another via USB sticks, so regularly check your USB sticks for viruses or malware. Ensure you do not use it on other devices if you know it’s been in contact with an infected smart TV, computer, etc.
What’s your experience with viruses on smart TVs? Let us know in the comments below!
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.