Federal Bureau of Investigation warns your smart TV could be spying on you

Brenda Watkins
December 4, 2019

According to the agency even if a cybercriminal can't access your computer directly, they might be able to come in through a backdoor using your tv.

"At the low end of the risk spectrum, they can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos". In the worst-case scenario, they could access the camera in your bedroom TV and silently cyber-stalk you, in a plot straight out of "Mr. Robot". In response to these increasingly sophisticated TV sets permeating the market, FBI Portland has issued a warning that they can pose security and privacy threats.

Smart TVs, which have the capability of connecting to the internet for streaming services and apps, could be used by cyber criminals to access your home via the device's camera or microphone. In some cases, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the cameras are used for facial recognition so the TV can see who's watching and recommend programs.

The FBI warned that hackers can take control of your unsecured smart TV and in worst cases, take control of the camera and microphone to watch and listen in.

With Cyber Monday now underway and people still wanting to grab good deals, it's worthwhile being aware of the new technology and devices that you're bringing into your home, and whether they are secure or not. Not only that, many smart TVs come with a camera and a microphone.

On the more nefarious side, hackers could also break into your TV.

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If you purchased a smart TV on Black Friday or have one sitting in your shopping cart, there are a few important security questions to consider when looking at various models and its high-speed features. You could have to buy a model that was at least five years old to get an old-fashioned device.

Don't default to manufacturer security settings: change the password if you can and know how to turn off any microphones, cameras and personal information if possible.

Tait warns it is also extremely important for consumers to promptly install software updates routinely pushed out by smart TV manufacturers.

3-If you can't turn off a camera but want to, a simple piece of black tape over the camera eye is a back-to-basics option.

If you think you may have been hacked, incidents of cyber-crime can be reported to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center in the U.S., or check here for more information about UK-based services.

As convenient as it might be, the most secure smart TV might be one that isn't connected to the internet at all. They allow you to use popular streaming services and apps. Confirm what data they collect, how they store that data, and what they do with it.

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