Federal Bureau of Investigation warns smart TV users of security risks

NewsGeneralRead FBI warns people about the smart TVs they just bought during Black Friday
By Robin Leigh Chetty

The FBI warned that hackers can take control of your unsecured smart TV and in worst cases, take control of the camera and microphone to watch and listen in.

It goes on to say that the risk starts with the possibility of TB manufacturers and app developers could be watching and listening to you - potentially for marketing purposes. "But for people who are particularly anxious, or who don't want the new "smart" features, there is a simple solution to keep hackers out: unplug the device from your network".

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

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.

On Black Friday, sales hit a record of $7.4 billion in the U.S. and one of the most popular items purchased were new smart TVs - TVs that have all of the streaming capabilities built into them.

With Cyber Monday now underway and people still wanting to grab good deals, it's worthwhile being aware of the new technology and devices that you're bringing into your home, and whether they are secure or not.

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In the worst-case scenarios, an attacker could take control of your smart TV and even its microphone or camera to spy on you. It added, "A$3 television can also be a gateway for hackers to come into your home". The FBI recommends searching your model number with the words "microphone", "camera", and "privacy" to quickly find the precise information.

2-Don't depend on the default security settings. (Your user manual or a quick Google search will probably help you find the settings if you're not sure where to look.) If all else fails, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recommends taping up the camera with black tape-in fact, this might be worth doing this even if you have the camera disabled in the settings.

"One of the best things you can do is make sure you're doing the security updates for your device which is the TV, cell phone or even your laptop", says Ware Repair Owner, Danny Ware.

If you can't turn off the camera, consider using a piece of black tape. Can they do this?

Shoppers were also advised to check the privacy policy for the TV manufacturer and the streaming services they use and to confirm what data they collect, how they store that data, and what they do with it.

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

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