Samsung says you should be running a virus scan on your Samsung smart TV “every few weeks.” The company added McAfee antivirus to its TVs recently. But do you really need to manually run an antivirus scan—on your TV?!
No, Don’t Run Antivirus Scans on Your TV
Let’s get right to it: No, we don’t recommend running an antivirus scan on your smart TV.
If Samsung thinks you should manually run antivirus scans on its smart TVs to stay secure, that’s a good argument for not purchasing a Samsung TV. Or, if you do have a Samsung TV, that’s a good argument for disconnecting your Samsung TV from the Wi-Fi and using a streaming device like a Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, or Chromecast.
If Samsung wants to integrate background antimalware scanning to check off a box on a feature list and make its customers feel better, that’s fine. But asking people to manually scan for malware on their TVs is just absurd—and, if they have to, Samsung has done something very wrong.
The official Samsung Support Twitter account has since deleted its tweet, but it’s still available on the Internet Archive—and the company’s QLED TVs still have the antivirus software built-in, too. The antivirus scan is available from menu > General > System Manager > Smart Security.
But Can Your TV Get Malware?
It is possible that smart TVs could be compromised, but that will likely be a result of a zero-day attack that antivirus software won’t catch.
Like all Internet of Things devices—Internet-connected devices that often aren’t supported for long enough with security patches—your TV’s “smart” software could eventually end up old, unpatched, and open to attack.
If you’re running an old smart TV—perhaps with old, unpatched Android TV software—that might be a problem. But we recommend skipping the antivirus software—you can’t even use antivirus software on most TVs!
Just disconnect the TV from your Wi-Fi and use a Roku or similar streaming device instead. If your TV isn’t connected to the Internet, it’s fine. And streaming devices like these will continue being supported with security and feature updates long after your TV manufacturer has forgotten about your TV.
After all, when was the last time you heard of antivirus software for a Roku?