That smart TV you just bought may be spying on you, FBI warns

08:54 (GMT+2) Thu, 05 Dec 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. (WICS/WRSP) - The FBI is warning consumers about smart TVs.

A message posted before the Thanksgiving holiday by an FBI field office states those televisions have built-in cameras that can be used for facial recognition -- making them vulnerable to hackers.

Many people who may have picked up a smart TV on Black Friday may not know about the risks that come with it.

It's one of the reasons the FBI is making sure consumers are aware of what these TVs are equipped with.

A number of the newer Smart TVs not only have built-in cameras, but also allow TV manufacturers and app developers to possibly listen or watch consumers, according to the FBI.

An unsecured TV could be taken over by hackers, says the FBI.

"At the low end of the risk spectrum, they can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos. In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV's camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you."

The FBI field office in Portland, Oregon relayed the following tips on how you can protect your family:

  • 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.

by WICS/WRSP Staff


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