Consumers need to think seriously about the security of their Internet-connect Smart TVs, according to the FBI.
“A number of the newer TV’s also have built-in cameras,” the FBI’s Portland field office said, in a statement. “In some cases, the cameras are used for facial recognition so the TV knows who is watching and can suggest programming appropriately. There are also devices coming to market that allow you to video chat with grandma in 42' glory.”
“Beyond the risk that your TV manufacturer and app developers may be listening and watching you, that television can also be a gateway for hackers to come into your home,” the FBI added. “A bad cyber actor may not be able to access your locked-down computer directly, but it is possible that your unsecured TV can give him or her an easy way in the backdoor through your router.”
The Feds warn that hackers could also take over your unsecured TV.
“At the low end of the risk spectrum, they can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos,” they write. “In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV's camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you.”
Set against this backdrop, the FBI urges consumers to do their homework and work out how to control features of their Smart TV, such as microphones and cameras. Users should also not rely on the device’s default security settings and, if possible, change passwords.
“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,” the FBI added.