Federal Bureau of Investigation issues warning about smart TVs

Smart TVs are one of the most popular Black Friday purchases

Not only that, many smart TVs come with a camera and a microphone.

'A bad cyber actor may not be able to access your locked-down computer directly'.

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

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.

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


In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says once a hacker takes control of a TV, they can change the channels, adjust the volume, show kids inappropriate videos, and even turn the camera and microphone on, which can be especially problematic for TVs situated in the bedroom. "In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV's camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you".

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". If you can't turn them off, consider whether you are willing to take the risk of buying that model or using that service. More than that, the spotty security patch habits of most TV manufacturers means that some smart TVs are much more vulnerable than others.

The FBI advises users to put a "a simple piece of black tape over the camera eye" as an easy way of stopping the TV from watching you as well as making sure that your TV manufacturer is constantly issuing updates. Have they done it in the past?

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.

But as much as the FBI's warning is responding to genuine fears, arguably one of the bigger issues that should cause as much if not greater concerns are how much tracking data is collected on smart TV owners. Numerous most devious smart TV exploits in recent years were developed by the Central Intelligence Agency - and later stolen and put on the black market.

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