Samsung has announced a new "three-layer security solution" named GAIA for its range of smart TVs, with the aim of securing information stored on the devices themselves (e.g. account passwords and credit card information) as well as data transmitted "between the TV and [Internet of Things] service servers."
This last point is particularly important given the company's recently-announced plans to turn its smart TVs into hubs for IoT devices around your home. Yesterday, Samsung said its range of premium SUHD TVs will work with any SmartThings compatible devices from 2016, meaning that in the future, your Samsung TV could control everything from security cameras to lighting and motion sensors. This makes securing the TV itself even more important — in a network of connected devices, the whole chain is only as secure as the weakest link.
Samsung has built NSA-approved security software in the past, but that had bugs
Exactly how much protection GAIA will offer is hard to tell, but Samsung at least has some history when it comes to building security products, including the NSA-approved Knox for mobile devices. (Although, as ever, holes were found in this particular system, including the claim by a security researcher that at least one version of Knox stored PINs in plaintext.) The company also needs to make sure its smart TV software — its own Tizen operating system — can compete with Google's own Android TV.
In many ways, making the TV into a sort of central control panel for your super-smart home makes a lot of sense. It (probably) occupies a central position in one of your rooms at home, it's got a big screen, and you're not going to misplace it. However, smart TVs including Samsung's have already been criticized for their ability to spy on users, so security systems like GAIA have quite a lot to prove before they'll be fully trusted.
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