FBI Issues Smart TV Cybersecurity Warning

Hackers could use smart TVs to break into your home

United States citizens have been warned that hackers could be watching them in their homes through their smart TVs.

1-Know exactly what features your TV has and how to control those features.

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.

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.

The Oregon branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation posted on their website to warn the public that the devices' built-in cameras and microphones could be used by cyber criminals to listen to or watch them go about their business.

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.

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TV manufacturers or app developers could be listening and watching you, likely in an effort to collect even more personal data to sell a more nuanced profile to advertisers. But it also says it could be a "gateway for hackers to come into your home". That's made especially worse since many smart TVs have a microphone and a camera (and many IoT manufacturers don't make security a top priority). "In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV's camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you", the blog post said.

The bureau noted that United States citizens can report cyber-fraud to either their local FBI office, or online via the Internet Crime Complaint Centre. But like anything that connects to the internet, it opens up smart TVs to security vulnerabilities and hackers. If you can't turn them off, consider whether you are willing to take the risk of buying that model or using that service. Those features also allow TV makers like Samsung, Roku and Vizio to track what you're up to and relay it to advertising partners, whether you're in a streaming app or browsing the web or kicking it old school with a DVD.

As convenient as it might be, the most secure smart TV might be one that isn't connected to the internet at all.

The FBI recommended that you change your security settings, and, if possible, change your passwords.

It also urged users not to depend on default security settings and to read privacy policies carefully.

The FBI advises users to put a "a simple piece of black tape over the camera eye" as an easy way of stopping the TV from watching you as well as making sure that your TV manufacturer is constantly issuing updates.

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