Smart TVs may be watching and listening to you, according to Beth Anne Steele, Public Affairs Officer at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Televisions that connect to the Internet and have microphones and/or cameras create a risk that the manufacturer of the device as well as the app developers could be spying on users. In addition, any Internet-connected device is at risk of being hacked if it’s not secured.
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Once the hackers gain access to an unsecured television, it makes it easier for them to access a user’s router, giving them even more devices and accounts to access. Steele wrote in a recent blog post on the FBI website,
“Hackers can also take control of your unsecured TV. At the low end of the risk spectrum, they can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos. In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV’s camera and microphone and silently cyber stalk you.”
Steele provided some tips on how to prevent your smart TV from being hacked:
- Change passwords from defaults if possible and learn how to disable your TV’s microphone, camera, and speaker. You may also be able to disable the collection of your personal data.
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- If the camera can’t be turned off, put a piece of black tape over it.
- See if it’s possible to update your device with security patches.
Anyone who has had their smart TV hacked should report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a division of the FBI, or call their local FBI office.
What can smart TVs do?
Smart TVs allow users to access a plethora of shows, movies and music without needing cable, an antenna or a satellite service. Many smart TVs also allow for web browsing, access content on from computers, or even gaming.
Do smart TVs have built in WiFi?
Yes, smart TVs have built-in WiFi as well as wired Ethernet.
Do smart TVs have Netflix?
Most smart TVs have Netflix, but it’s important to check for this before buying.