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It can be scary and frustrating when a notification pops across your TV screen to warn you that someone is trying to connect to it.
In this article, we’ll discuss how someone can connect to your smart TV and how you can block their connections to keep your TV safe.
How Did Someone Else Connect to My Smart TV?
To understand how someone else could connect to your smart television, you must first know how devices connect to your TV.
There are three potential ways that devices can connect to your TV:
- Your WiFi network
- WiFi Direct
All smart TVs can connect to WiFi. Having a network router gives you a sense of security and control- until someone else hacks it. If someone could hack into your internet network, they could access your TV. If neighbors use your WiFi, they also can connect to your smart TV.
Most smart TVs have Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to cast audio, images, or video onto your TV. Because most smart devices have it, Bluetooth comes with security risks. Bluetooth hackers only need to connect within a short range of your TV.
WiFi Direct is similar to Bluetooth because they make peer-to-peer connections, like a home network, without needing a hub. However, WiFi Direct can handle more information at quicker speeds than Bluetooth. Not all TVs have WiFi Direct as an option, but many do, such as Roku.
Beginning and expert hackers can access your TV through any of the above connection options.
How to Stop Outsiders from Connecting to Your Smart TV
Require a Pin to Cast
Some services, such as Chromecast, allow users to create a pin for casting purposes. You have to use Guest Mode for it to work. It will prevent your guests and others from casting on your TV without permission.
If you have Chromecast, here’s how to locate your pin:
- Open up any Chromecast app and try to connect.
- A 4-digit pin will appear on your TV screen when the connection fails.
The pin changes every 24 hours to help keep your TV safe from unwanted visitors.
Create Strong Internet Security
Hackers can attack your network just by driving nearby. Keeping your WiFi router’s security strong is your first step to stopping outsiders from connecting to your Smart TV.
To create stronger security for your internet, you should:
- Keep the router updated – If there have not been any updates in the last six months, your router is outdated, and it is time to get a new one.
- Use WPA2 encryption – WPA2 encryption is a protected security protocol that keeps your information safe.
- Disable SSID broadcast – SSID broadcast means that your network’s name goes on the list of available networks in the area for nearby users to see. Disabling it means only those who know your network’s name can access it.
- Pick a unique network name – Your name is a part of the encryption. Do not include any personal information while naming your network. Avoid using the name of your router’s manufacturer since that can also give hackers an open door.
- Create a unique password – Make your network password long and complicated. The harder it is to guess, the less likely someone will try to connect to your WiFi or, eventually, your TV. Create a password that has 16 to 63 characters, with many numbers and symbols among letters.
- Don’t give out your network information to anyone – Instead of giving guests your passwords, create a guest network if your router allows it.
If you need help changing your router’s password, here’s a quick helpful video.
Create a Firewall
A well-configured firewall is the strongest line of defense against hackers. They are a key part of any strong and secure router network. However, setting up your firewall can feel daunting if you do not know how to approach it.
Here is a basic guide for what you need to do to configure your firewall:
- Update your router to the latest firmware.
- Delete or rename any user accounts and change all default passwords.
- Turn off SNMP by entering the no SNMP server command in the global configuration mode.
- Create zones. Zones are parts of your network that house different types of assets, such as patient and payment data, to keep it safer. For example, all email and web servers should be in a dedicated zone allowing limited inbound network traffic.
- Establish traffic flow for your zones with ACLs (or access control lists). Make the ACLs specific for their IP address destinations or sources. Remember to add a “deny all” rule for filtering unwanted traffic.
Once you have your firewall set up the way you like, you should test it. Run any or all of the following tests to test your firewall’s security:
- File sharing test: Tests vulnerable file-sharing ports
- Common ports test: Analyzes ports popular services use, such as FTP and Telnet.
- All ports and services test: This test scans every port to see if anything is running, open, in stealth mode, or closed.
Know the Security Features for Your WiFi Direct
Your smart TV will appear as a listed WiFi network if it supports WiFi Direct. You will see it listed usually with “DIRECT” in front of the product’s name and model number. Once you know that your TV has Direct, you should check your device’s security information to see how to make it safer.
Direct has two types of connections, persistent and temporary. Persistent will allow you to save information to the device, such as passwords and accounts, whenever Direct connects. While this saves you a lot of hassle, it also opens you up to losing that information easier if hackers attack your Direct connection.
You should limit your persistent connections and opt for temporary ones instead. The temporary mode does not automatically connect when you use WiFi Direct and acts on the safer side by offering you more security. You can also opt for temporary pins for connection.
Turning Off Bluetooth
If someone is trying to access your TV through Bluetooth- intentionally or not- then turning off Bluetooth is the easiest solution. It may not be ideal if you enjoy using Bluetooth regularly, but you can always turn it back on whenever you go to use it.
To turn off Bluetooth on a Samsung TV, follow these steps:
- Go to your Samsung TV menu.
- From the menu, open up System.
- Once inside the System menu, select Wireless Connections and find Bluetooth Devices.
- Toggle the switch for Bluetooth off.
Removing Unwanted Devices from Memory
Your TV remembers devices that it connects with throughout time. You can stop someone from connecting to your TV by removing pre-authenticated or registered devices.
Follow the following steps to see devices that connect to your Samsung Smart TV:
- Open the Settings menu.
- Go to the General settings tab and search for External Device Manager.
- Select Device Connection Manager.
- Open the Device list.
You can remove unwanted devices you do not recognize from the list. Never accept any devices that you don’t remember either.
Strong internet security is the first step to keeping people from connecting to your TV. If they are accessing your smart TV without using your router, you may need to turn off Bluetooth and clear out your TV’s device list.