The FBI has seen it necessary to warn about security and privacy issues in Smart TVs. An unsecured TV can act as a gateway to your network, the bureau said.
Smart TV concerns
It is not uncommon to find a built-in microphone or even a camera in a modern Smart TV. Many manufacturers and their partners also collect personal information.
The FBI is evidently concerned and the Portland office has issued a warning on its website.
- "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. 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," said the FBI.
The bureau is also showing concerns over manufacturers' "ability to update your device with security patches". This is part of the Smart TV update problem that FlatpanelsHD has been reporting on for several years now.
- "Hackers can also take control of 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. In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV's camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you," it continued.
Black tape over the camera
If you own a Smart TV with a built-in camera, FBI advises you to put "a simple piece of black tape over the camera eye". It also recommends that you turn off the TV's tracking mechanisms designed to give the manufacturer or partners insight into your viewing habits.
Also read: Guide: How to turn off Smart TV tracking (ACR)
The FBI is certainly not the first organization to issuewarnings about Smart TVs, and security researchers have demonstrated how it is possible to connect to a Smart TV's camera without the user's knowledge. WikiLeaks also revealed that the CIA had developed tools to eavesdrop on conversations through a Smart TV.
- Source: FBI via TechCrunch