home Cyber Security Could your smart TV be watching you? FBI warns IP Tv’s can give hackers a window into your homes

Could your smart TV be watching you? FBI warns IP Tv’s can give hackers a window into your homes

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For many people, watching television is a definitely a nice pastime — but could your smart TV also be watching you in return?

Just this past month, Black Friday discounts on smart TVs fly off the shelves as well as the Cyber Monday sales, the FBI has issued a warning that the internet-connected devices can allow hackers access to your home.

Smart TVs are like regular television sets but with an internet connection. With the advent and growth of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, most saw internet-connected televisions as a cord-cutter’s dream. But like anything that connects to the internet, it opens up smart TVs to security vulnerabilities and hackers. Not only that, many smart TVs come with a camera and a microphone. But as is the case with most other internet-connected devices, manufacturers often don’t put security as a priority.

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

Hackers can also take control of unsecured smart TVs and use them as a bridgehead to access your router and form their get into your computer or smartphone.

“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. “These features enable things like internet streaming services and voice-commands, but can unfortunately be subverted by hackers if the device gets compromised.”
“At the low end of the risk spectrum, they can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos,” the FBI warning states. “In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV’s camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you.”
In order to guard against possible intrusion, the FBI 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 manufactures, and understand how to enable and disable microphones and cameras.
If a particular smart TV does not allow the disabling of cameras, the bureau says placing black tape over the camera is one basic and simple solution to shutting out prying eyes.
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James Barnley

I’m the editor of the DomainingAfrica. I write about internet and social media, focusing mainly on Domains. As a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll get a lot of information on Domain Issues, ICANN, new gtld’s, Mobile technology and social media.

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