Google Chromecast needs no introduction as it is one of the popularly known media players among smart TV users. The casting feature lets anyone mirror the mobile or desktop contents to the Chromecast built-in TV. However, those devices need to be connected to the same WiFi network to start casting the contents. Soon after the hack attacks on Chromecast devices, its users started questioning on how to always stay safe when using Chromecast. When it comes to security and safety, Chromecast users must take care of certain things. The article specifically deals with tips to overcome such a security breach. Let us discuss how to secure Chromecast in this post.
Does Chromecast Devices Hacked Really?
Those Chromecast devices connected to the badly configured routers had undergone a hack attack on January 2019. Hackers had forced the Chromecast users to subscribe the PewDiePie’s YouTube channel. Almost about 70,000 devices were hacked. It includes Chromecast streaming adapters, Google Home smart TV with Chromecast built-in and smart speakers.
Chromecast devices were not really hacked rather the hackers had made it increase the subscribers count above the Indian music video channel named T-Series. The hackers were able to find information like the WiFi to which Chromecast is connected, Bluetooth devices that are paired, etc. However, they were unable to hack the Google Home device microphone access. With this, Google has asked its users to turn off UPnP to stay away from such attacks further.
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Tips to Secure Chromecast
Whether you are a new Chromecast user or you look for ways to Secure Chromecast, the tips are given below would help you out.
1. Use a Secure Network
The first and foremost thing any Chromecast users need to have is a secure WiFi network. You must connect your Chromecast only to those WiFi or internet network that is stable and secure. It is because connecting to a vulnerable network will cause a buffering issue when casting the video to the smart TV. On the other hand, your data will be exposed to others. If you have a secured WiFi, then it will prevent unauthorized users from joining the network.
2. Choose a Trustworthy VPN
Secondly, a trustworthy Virtual Private Network or VPN is indeed a must thing needed while using the Chromecast. A VPN will keep your router, IP address and private contents hidden from the hackers or snoopers. Not even your ISP will be able to track your online activity. So make sure to connect the VPN service on all your devices like Chromecast built-in TV, Android/iOS phone, as well as your PC. Meanwhile, the VPN will help you stream the geo-restricted contents without getting into the licensing issues.
Related: How to Chromecast Firefox to TV?
3. Use Ethernet Adapter
At times, you may get a weak WiFi signal and as a result, you will have to face buffering issues or a drop in the video quality. In addition to this, internet connectivity will drop completely. So to get out of the poor connection, it is good to buy an Ethernet cable. It will look similar to the Chromecast power cord and has a small Ethernet port in addition. With the Ethernet adapter, you can take advantage of the poor WiFi signal. Just plugging it into the USB port of Chromecast, you can stream high-quality videos.
4. Enable Guest Mode
By enabling the guest mode, you can let your guest access the Chromecast. Turning on the guest mode will create a special WiFi beacon. When the guest mobile gets to connect to that WiFi beacon, then a cast icon will be shown on the cast ready app. However, this mode doesn’t let your guest access your WiFi and they can cast any Google cast ready app to the smart TV provided if they are within 25 feet of Chromecast. Upon failing to this, the guest needs to get the four-digit pin from you to start casting.
Related: How to Watch Amazon Prime Video on Chromecast Connected TV?
5. Disable Tracking
Chromecast is designed to track your activity by default. So someone is eyeing on what you are stream without your knowledge. All your device usage data and crash reports will be sent to Google while using Chromecast. Although the tracking activity cannot be completely turned off, it can, however, be set to limit. To do so, open the Google Home app and choose Devices option. After that, choose Chromecast to click on Settings. Finally, uncheck the Send Chromecast Device Usage Data & Crash Reports to Google.
6. Turn Off UPnP
If you have connected your Chromecast with the router with Universal Plug and Play aka UPnP enabled, then you are at risk. If UPnP is enabled, then the devices that are connected to a network will identify each other automatically. Meanwhile, the devices can share the data without any manual intervention. For instance, it is very useful when in the case of connecting desktop with printer or desktop with mobile, etc. But it isn’t the same when in case of casting videos to the Chromecast. So it is indeed important to turn off the UPnP on the router.
7. Check for the Network Ports
It is very important to check the network ports that are opened on your router to stay safe while using Chromecast. If you could see 8008, 8009, 8443, etc, as an open port, then your Chromecast device is exposed to others. It is better to close any open port if you feel it is dangerous or probably doesn’t find it useful.
8. Turn Off Cast Media Control Notifications
When the Cast Media Control Notifications is enabled, a notification about what you are streaming will be sent to other devices connected to the same network. In other words, those devices connected to the same network can control your media casting in Chromecast. However, you can prevent others from controlling your device either permanently or temporarily.
9. Opt for Factory Reset
Finally, when you are unable to resolve any issues in your Chromecast, then factory reset would help you. Never repair your device on your own as it may void the warranty. Resetting is the least option when the device stops functioning entirely or if it gets hanged up. A factory reset will revert back your device to its original state. Just open the Google Home app and choose the Chromecast device. After that, open Settings to click on More and tap the Factory reset Chromecast option. Alternatively, you can just hold down the physical button your dongle to reboot it manually.
By following the above methods, you can secure Chromecast easily.
Related: How to Chromecast from Linux to TV?
It is better to follow the tips given in this article to always stay safe when using Chromecast. Most importantly, you should ensure to disabled the UPnP on your router. Chromecast is absolutely safe to use if you have done with all of the tips. If you have any queries about this article, then let us know from the comments section.