FBI Warns That Your Smart TV May Be Used To Spy On You

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a warning for you if you own a smart TV or plan on buying this holiday season. It's possible that TV is allowing cyber criminals to reach right into your home.

Many of the newest models come with built-in cameras that can be used for facial recognition purposes that allow the TV to identify who is watching and offer suggestions for programs.

But TV manufacturers and app developers might not be the only ones monitoring you and your family. The FBI says your smart TV may be an invitation for hackers. You may have taken steps to keep cyber thieves from accessing your home computer directly, but cyber security experts say it's still possible for them to use your unsecured TV as a back door to your router.

Hackers can also take control of your unsecured TV, according to the FBI warning. At the very least, they can change channels, adjust the volume, and make inappropriate videos available to your kids. Worst-case scenario, they can do something like turn on the smart TV in your bedroom and use the camera and microphone to cyberstalk you without your knowledge.

So, how do you prevent your smart TV from being turned against by cyber criminals?

Here's what the FBI is suggesting:

  • Know exactly what features your TV has and how to control those features. Do a basic Internet search with your model number and the words "microphone," "camera," and "privacy."
  • Don't depend on the default security settings. Change passwords if you can – and know how to turn off the microphones, cameras, and collection of personal information if possible. If you can’t turn them off, consider whether you are willing to take the risk of buying that model or using that service.
  • 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.
  • Check the manufacturer’s ability to update your device with security patches. Can they do this? Have they done it in the past?
  • Check the privacy policy for the TV manufacturer and the streaming services you use. Confirm what data they collect, how they store that data, and what they do with it.

You can report a cyber crime to the FBI by clicking here.

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