The FBI is encouraging us to build a digital defense with our Smart TVs.
The warning is about the Smart TVs that most
of us have right now in our homes, or the one that we may purchase for the
Smart TVs are called that because they connect
to the Internet. They allow you to use popular streaming services and apps.
Many also have microphones. Just shout at your set that you want to change the
channel or turn up the volume and you are good to go – it’s a feature in many
of the newer models.
A number of the newer TV’s also have built-in
cameras. In some cases, the cameras are used for facial recognition so the TV
knows who is watching and can suggest programming appropriately. There are also
devices coming to market that allow you to video chat, much like Facetime on
Beyond the risk that your TV manufacturer and
app developers may be listening and watching you, Smart televisions can also be
a gateway for hackers to come into your home. A cyber attacker 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
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
TVs and technology are a big part of our
lives, and they aren’t going away. So how can you protect your family?
As always, if you have been victimized by a
cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center
at www.IC3.gov or
call your local FBI office.