If you just bought yourself a smart TV for your home because you bagged a good deal on Black Friday or intend to purchase one on Cyber Monday, there are a few things you should be aware of, especially about its camera features, which could cheat on you.
Smart TVs are essentially just regular TVs with integrated internet, allowing users to view photos, browse the web and stream movies and TV shoes on apps like Netflix, Hulu and others. But with an internet connection, come security risks and vulnerabilities that hackers can take advantage of. Moreover, some smart TVs also come with a camera and a microphone, which they can gain access to.
Hackers use your smart TV's camera or microphone to spy on you
However, as is the case with many other internet-connected devices, manufacturers don't often place the customer's security as top priority. Just in time for the holiday season, the FBI posted a warning in a blog post last week cautioning users about the risks that are associated with Smart TVs.
"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," wrote the FBI.
The agency added that hackers can gain access to one's TV, which allows them to mess around with the TVs channels and volume, show inappropriate videos to your children, and even hack into the smart TV in your bedroom and use the device's microphone and camera to "silently cyberstalk you."
Hackers upload couple's private moments on adult website
Earlier this year, an Indian couple received the shock of their life when they came across a video of them having sex on an adult website. The husband was browsing through pornographic content on his smart TV when he stumbled upon a video of him and his wife getting intimate on one such website. A cybersecurity probe later found that the smart TV in his bedroom had been infiltrated by hackers and its in-built camera was used to capture the footage.
How to protect your smart TV from being hacked?
In order to protect yourself and your family from hackers, the FBI has listed out some tips that you should follow if you have a smart TV in your home:
First, you must be aware of all the features that your device is equipped with and how to control these features. It's as simple as googling your model number along with the words "microphone," "camera," and "privacy."
Do not rely on the default security settings. Change the password if possible and find out how to disable the microphone, camera, and any other collection of personal information. If you are unable to disable them, take this into consideration when purchasing that particular TV model.