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Alexander: Can your smart TV get a virus?

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER
  • Star Tribune
  • July 8, 2014 - 4:42 PM

Q: I recently bought a smart TV. Can it get infected by a computer virus? If so, can it be protected against viruses?

Atef Hanna, Reading Pa.

 

A: There have not yet been any reports of computer virus attacks on smart TVs, although some experts believe that will eventually happen. As a result, there is not any antivirus software to protect smart TVs that have computer-like functions, such as streaming movies and TV shows via online services from Netflix, Hulu and others.

The belief that smart TV viruses will eventually emerge is based on the idea that, as smart TVs become more widely used, they will become a more attractive target for hackers. (For details, see tinyurl.com/leyx6ea.)

This seems plausible based on the history of PC viruses. The reason that Windows PCs were frequently attacked by viruses and Apple Macintoshes were not is that there were vastly more PCs in use worldwide and they represented a bigger target.

But it’s important to note that the type of virus predictions being made for smart TVs have previously been made for smartphones. While some smartphones using Google’s Android operating system are vulnerable to viruses, no significant attacks have yet been reported.

 

Q: We use Google calendar, and sync [synchronize] the calendar events on my Windows 7 PC, my iPhone 4 and my wife’s iPhone 5. How can we also sync the calendar on her iPad?

Bruce Waller, St. Louis Park

 

A: Once you’ve set up your wife’s iPad to use the same Gmail account as the rest of your devices, the iPad’s calendar will automatically sync with them. To set up a Gmail account and activate the calendar on an iPad, see tinyurl.com/qd4tlro.

Once the Google calendar is active on the iPad, you can adjust how often it updates (which affects how often you have to recharge the iPad’s battery.) Go to Settings and choose “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.” On the resulting menu, click on the arrow next to the heading “Fetch New Data.” At the top of the next menu, you can click the button beside “Push” to make your calendar automatically update whenever possible. Otherwise, at the bottom of the menu, you can choose how often to have the calendar update itself. You can also choose not to use “Fetch,” which will cause the calendar to update only when you use it. Opt out of Fetch by touching the arrow next to “Fetch New Data,” then the arrow next to Gmail, then the word “Manual.”

You also can choose how far back in time you want to sync the calendar (you can go back a few weeks or include every entry since you began using Google’s calendar.) Go to the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” menu and scroll down to “Calendars.” By clicking the arrow next to “Sync,” you can choose how far back to sync calendar events.

 

Everyone needs a vacation, and I’m taking mine for the rest of July. This column will resume in early August. Thanks for reading.

 

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 ­Portland Av. S., ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.

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