Saturday, 14 December, 2019

Your smart TV could be spying on you

Now even the FBI is warning about your smart TV's security FBI issues warning about smart TVs
Adrian Cunningham | 04 December, 2019, 07:56

He doesn't have a smart TV but he says he doesn't need one.

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

But in a timely announcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned that if people picked up a new smart TV on Black Friday, there are a few things that customers should know about their new purchase - mainly that it can be a security nightmare.

Many smart TVs are equipped with cameras and microphones, which allow users to control them from the comfort of the couch. "These features enable things like internet streaming services and voice-commands, but can unfortunately be subverted by hackers if the device gets compromised".

'In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV's camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you.

According to the agency even if a cybercriminal can't access your computer directly, they might be able to come in through a backdoor using your tv. But like any internet-connected device, they can be a convenient portal for hackers, as the FBI's Portland field office pointed out in a warning to consumers last week. It added, "A$3 television can also be a gateway for hackers to come into your home".

If you think you may have been hacked, incidents of cyber-crime can be reported to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center in the United States, or check here for more information about UK-based services.

Jones waxes poetic on Jason Garrett with empty rhetoric yet again
Yet they prod and push and don't allow the 53-year-old to compartmentalize his tenuous status with the organization. I'm still glad that when I get up in the morning, I can look for ways to help our team.

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".

The process of installing system updates on your TV can differ for each model and manufacturer, so check your user guide if you need specific instructions.

The FBI said: "Change passwords if you can-and know how to turn off the microphones, cameras, and collection of personal information if possible".

For an extra layer of protection, also consider putting black tape over the camera hole or disabling the microphone. Can they do this?

Using technology called automatic content recognition (ACR), TVs watch what you're watching - no matter whether it's from streaming, cable, satellite, DVD, whatever.

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.