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World

Web Desk
December 2, 2019

FBI smart TV warning: Five easy steps to protect your family from hackers

World

Web Desk
Mon, Dec 02, 2019

Hackers can take control of your unsecured TV, warned the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as discount smart TVs went on sale on "Cyber Monday".

According to the agency, beyond the risk that your TV manufacturer and app developers may be listening and watching you, the device 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.

At the low end of the risk spectrum, hackers 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," the FBI said in its warning.

Here is what FBI suggests you must do to protect your Smart TV and your family.

1-Know exactly what features your TV has and how to control those features. Do a basic Internet search with your model number and the words “microphone,” “camera,” and “privacy.”

2-Don’t depend on the default security settings. Change passwords if you can – and know how to turn off the microphones, cameras, and collection of personal information if possible. If you can’t turn them off, consider whether you are willing to take the risk of buying that model or using that service.

3-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.

4-Check the manufacturer’s ability to update your device with security patches. Can they do this? Have they done it in the past?

5-Check the privacy policy for the TV manufacturer and the streaming services you use. Confirm what data they collect, how they store that data, and what they do with it.