OK…when the FBI starts posting about things like that this it makes you stop and think.

The FBI field office in Portland, Oregon posted recently about all the tech integrated in newer TVs.

They are internet connected so this is where the possible issues can start. Many microphones for voice activation and built-in cameras for facial recognition. AND soon you will be able to video chat with newer TVs.

All that sounds fun but that means your TV can be a gateway for TV manufacturer and app developers to know what you are watching.  BUT it can also be an opening for hackers into your router, TV and even your computer.

I will share this exactly as the Portland office posted…”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 cyberstalk you.”

Let that sink in...

So here is a few tips from the FBI:

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

The post also say, if you have been victimized by a cyber fraud, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or call your local FBI office.