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Smart TVs have helped to revolutionise our viewing experience as we’re able to experience streaming services in the same way as traditional channels.
However, the safety of having these in your homes has been cast into doubt. The FBI’s Oregon branch ‘Tech Tuesday’ blog has warned that hackers could access our TVs.
The blog post tries to teach us how to build a ‘digital defence’ with our television. As Smart TVs are connected to the internet there is a potential risk of hackers gaining access to our computers and the virtual treasure trove of personal data that they contain via the shared internet connection. The FBI is also concerned that we could be ‘cyberstalked’ through criminals turning on the TV’s camera and microphone without our knowledge.
Some of the slightly lower risk possibilities of a Smart TV hack are slightly ludicrous. The blog post highlights both fiddling with the volume as well as changing the channel against the viewer’s will. That’s one bored hacker. But I would flip out if someone changed the channel in the middle of one of my favourite programmes.
The FBI advises that the best way to protect yourself is to get informed. Don’t know if there’s a camera or microphone on your TV at the moment? Google it. Buying a new TV? Do your research. Make sure that you always install the latest security updates and find out if your manufacturer even offers these.
When you buy a new TV it’s important to not just jump on Netflix and start binging immediately. You’ll need to double check the television’s security settings as the default ones may not be the most secure. As a last resort, the FBI advises putting some black tape (Yes, really!) over your TV’s camera if you fail to disable it. Of course, all good survivalists and conspiracy theorists have had them covered up before it was advocated by the government. New conspiracy?
As we all become more reliant on technology, a smart TV is becoming an essential part of our home. As long as you follow basic security precautions there’s no need to be scared about being snooped on as we gorge junk food and watch Netflix. If you do find yourself the victim of cybercrime, report it to law enforcement as soon as possible.