As thousands of smart TVs are purchased during Black Friday shopping, the FBI is warning people about some of the dangers inherent in these TVs. As a precaution, the FBI has asked recent smart TV buyers to familiarize themselves with the privacy settings and not to rely on factory settings as hackers target these TVs to spy on owners.
“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,” an FBI spokesperson wrote on the bureau’s website.
“A bad cyber actor may not be able to access your locked-down computer directly,” the statement reads, but they caution that the camera could allow them to see the router information such as the password and the IP address.
“It is possible that your unsecured TV can give him or her an easy way in the backdoor through your router.”
Now you may be wondering why this matters if they can’t really do anything except watch, but the bureau made it clear that hackers could use the microphone as well if your smart TV has one, the Daily Mail reported.
In addition, hackers could actually take control of your entire smart TV if they gain access to particular settings.
“At the low end of the risk spectrum, they can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos,” the FBI added. “In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV’s camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you.”
For those that want to go the extra mile, the FBI has asked buyers who have a camera attached to their TV to place tape over it. Sure, they can still hear you, but the hackers would more than likely lose interest if they can’t even see who they are spying on.
Lastly, the bureau has asked recent buyers to change the password on their device as it gives them an extra barrier of protection when it comes to their new TV.