Samsung Deletes Frightening Tweet Warning That Its Smart TVs Can Get Viruses

A screenshot from the video Samsung attached to the since deleted tweet. (Screenshot: Samsung)

The internet of things, in which all of our gadgets are plugged into data connections, will bring some terrible downsides along with its conveniences. We were blessed with a reminder of this uneasy future when Samsung’s Twitter account for customer support tweeted a guide to performing a security scan on your television. Then Samsung deleted the tweet.

We’ve reached out to learn precisely why the tweet, which was first spotted by The Verge, was deleted because as awful and apocalyptic as it feels to run a virus scan on a TV, it’s increasingly necessary given the complexity of modern TV operation systems. You should add your TV to the list of devices you need to actively maintain with security updates.

A screenshot of the since deleted tweet. (Screenshot: Twitter)

Not every TV Samsung makes uses the same smart TV operating system. So this appears to only apply to the QLED lineup that can cost up to $29,999 for an 88-inch 4K set.

In the since-deleted tweet, Samsung takes you through the scanning process step by step. Mercifully, it appears to be easy to do, according to the video Samsung posted. Just head into the General Settings, choose System Manager and then Smart Security and hit Scan. It’s not like you need to go and download a whole new service or pay for one or deal with obnoxious McAfee or Norton pop-ups. But you still have to keep your Samsung QLED TV up to date and regularly scan it (there doesn’t appear to be a setting for scheduling scans).

I don’t have to tell you that a reality in which we’re all constantly scanning our constantly expanding army of internet-connected devices is very unappealing. No one wants to run a scan for viruses on their TV. Most people are hard-pressed to do it on laptops and phones.

Virus scans aren’t the first awful outcome of the IoT future that Samsung and other companies are racing to deliver. Years ago, Samsung had to apologise because a privacy policy suggested it might collect sensitive audio data from you. Then last year, Consumer Reports discovered that hackers could potentially control any Samsung QLED TV, allowing them to change channels, volume, or to play unwanted YouTube videos. Now there’s this friendly, if excruciating, reminder that your TV is vulnerable to malicious software attacks as well.

It’s enough to make a person long for a dumb TV. That old tube TV my parents had may have weighed as much as a car, but I never had to worry about scanning it for viruses.

As for why Samsung decided to remind us of our doom, only to snatch away the reminder in under four hours—there’s no word yet. We’ve reached out to Samsung for clarity on the subject and will update once we know more.

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