#Privacy: FBI issues cybersecurity warning over Smart TV

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned shoppers purchasing Smart TVs about its security risks. 

In a statement, the Oregon branch of the FBI have warned members of the public that an unsecured TV could allow threat actors to gain access to their homes. 

“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 wrote. “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 FBI stressed hackers can gain control of unsecured TVs, allowing them the ability to change channels, play with volumes and displaying inappropriate videos to kids.

“In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV’s camera and microphone and silently cyber-stalk you.”

Instead of relying on the default security settings of any devices that shoppers may purchase to provide them with protection, shoppers are urged to fully understand the features of a Smart TV as and how to control these features before purchasing them. 

In addition, shoppers have been advised to change passwords, and know how to turn off microphones, cameras, and collection of personal information. 

“If you can’t turn them off, consider whether you are willing to take the risk of buying that model or using that service.”

A basic option is to simply place black tape over the camera eye if shoppers can’t turn the camera off. 

The FBI has also recommended shoppers to check the manufacturer’s ability to update your device with security patches, as well as check the privacy policy for the TV manufacturer. 

Javvad Malik, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4 told Infosecurity Magazine: “The main takeaway from this advisory should be that keeping devices patched and secure should be the responsibility of the manufacturer; we cannot place the burden on the average consumer to be tech-savvy enough to check settings, permissions, and apply patches.”


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