Federal Bureau of Investigation issues security warning for smart TVs before you buy

Federal Bureau of Investigation issues security warning for smart TVs before you buy

Many smart TVs are equipped with cameras and microphones, which allow users to control them from the comfort of the couch.

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. Since recently purchased TVs are smart TVs, they are created to be connected to the internet for a means of accessing streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.

But further, numerous newer models of smart TVs also come with a camera built into them.

At the low end of the risk spectrum, hackers can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos.

That's true, but while there have been relatively few cases of hackers invading homes via their smart TVs, it's only a matter of time until they're watching and listening to you.

Connected televisions with cameras and microphones can provide an opening for bad actors to spy on you and violate your privacy, they warned.

Sure, a new smart TV sounds like the flawless piece of tech to add to your home - especially if it's on sale for Cyber Monday - but the Federal Bureau of Investigation wants to remind consumers to make sure they are shopping safe. You could have to buy a model that was at least five years old to get an old-fashioned device. Do a basic Internet search with your model number and the words "microphone", "camera", and "privacy".

Javvad Malik, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4, commented: "The main takeaway from this advisory should be that keeping devices patched and secure should be the responsibility of the manufacturer; we can not place the burden on the average consumer to be tech-savvy enough to check settings, permissions, and apply patches".

The department goes on to detail a series of recommendations, such as changing the default security settings, covering the camera with a piece of black tape, and verifying the data collection policies. And, as we've learned in the past, hardware companies that are making these internet-connected devices don't always make security their priority. Can they do this?

Using technology called automatic content recognition (ACR), TVs watch what you're watching - no matter whether it's from streaming, cable, satellite, DVD, whatever. They also gave the TV manufacturer the right to collect all that information.

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.

Do you have stories, videos or pictures you would like to share with the world?

Related Articles