FBI Warns Smart TVs Might Be Spying On You On Cyber Monday

FBI Warns Smart TVs Might Be Spying On You On Cyber Monday

That's the key takeaway from the FBI's Portland field office, which just ahead of some of the biggest shopping days of the year posted a warning on its website about the risks that smart TVs pose. Instead, agents urged anyone considering buying a smart TV to make sure that they fully grasp exactly what features their smart TV comes with and how to control them before making a purchase.

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 also said that hackers can take control of an unsecured TV directly.

This form of hacking isn't very common, but as protection increases for other devices, hackers will be looking for alternative ways to access people's networks.

FBI Oregon explains in a tech post that your "TV manufacturer and app developers may be listening and watching you", while hackers can use a smart TV to break into your digital home and then get access to other devices like your computer.

What's worse is that smart TVs usually come with a microphone installed so users can tell their TV to change the channel and tell it to play their favorite shows or music. A worst-case scenario could see bad actors take control of these TVs to listen and watch owners without their knowledge.

The bureau noted that USA citizens can report cyber-fraud to either their local FBI office, or online via the Internet Crime Complaint Centre.

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Smart TVs connect to the Internet, allowing you to stream content from online services like Netflix and Hulu directly to your TV. The FBI recommends searching your model number with the words "microphone", "camera", and "privacy" to quickly find the precise information.

In order to guard against possible intrusion, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recommends that smart TV owners educate themselves on their device's security settings (available from a simple Google search), change default network passwords set by manufacturers, and understand how to enable and disable microphones and cameras.

2-Don't depend on the default security settings.

More recently, Samsung issued guidance to customers saying they should regularly scan their smart TVs for malware, just like a PC.

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. You should also check the privacy policy for your TV manufacturer and the streaming services you use.

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

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