Federal Bureau of Investigation issues warning about smart TVs

Federal Bureau of Investigation issues warning about smart TVs

Federal Bureau of Investigation issues warning about smart TVs

Given that the same care for security is not given to smart TVs as they are for PCs, notebooks and smartphones, they do indeed present a route in for hackers wanting to get access to sensitive information.

The Black Friday sales just finished and just like every year a lot of people made a decision to pick up a new TV while they were heavily discounted.

"Next-gen smart TVs and devices run complex software, have Internet connections, and often have integrated sensors like microphones", says Matt Tait, cybersecurity expert and former analyst at GCHQ, the British signals intelligence service.

FBI's Portland field office has warned of this very thing, saying that "Beyond the risk that your TV manufacturer and app developers may be listening and watching you, that television can also be a gateway for hackers to come into your home".

The FBI also warned of the potential for hackers to remotely take control of an unsecured smart TV.

"A number of the newer TVs also have built-in cameras".

"In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV's camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you", read the warning.

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.

Hackers may try to exploit your smart TV to spy on you and gain access to other connected technologies in your home.

The smart TV category itself has become a lot more popular in the last few years, not only because more users want to connect to the Internet and benefit from services like Skype and Netflix, but also thanks to more manufacturers releasing such devices and prices overall going down. To start, the agency suggests doing a basic search on your TV model and its features, using words like "microphone", "camera" and privacy.

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.

Change passwords and turn off mics and cameras - if you can't then consider a "simple piece of black tape over the camera eye".

Don't depend on the default security settings. More than that, the spotty security patch habits of most TV manufacturers means that some smart TVs are much more vulnerable than others. Confirm what data they collect, how they store that data, and what they do with it.

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