Is your smartTV watching you? The FBI warns consumers of new risks that smartTVs pose to homes and businesses. Here’s what to know & steps to stay safe.
But that may be changing. The FBI recently warned that today’s televisions aren’t the one-way devices they once were. Smart technologies open up new potential in entertainment but also new risks.
Televisions today rarely have a simple antenna. They may not even be connected to cable or satellite. Today, nearly 25% no longer have multi-channel paid TV. Instead, TVs are connected to the Internet, which allows a consumer to stream everything from YouTube videos to NetFlix to websites to video games.
So TVs are no longer one way. You’re receiving data (programming) and you’re also transmitting it via the Internet. TV is bi-directional.
To accomplish this, the next generation of smart TVs need advanced operating systems. And like your computer, they are open to viruses and hacking.
On the “prankster” side of the spectrum, a hacker could change your channel while you’re watching, play with the volume or do other annoying things.
But at the far end of the spectrum, you have things like voice control and cameras in which a malicious actor could take over to listen in or watch inside your home without you knowing it. This kind of breach of privacy not only feels violating. It could also give criminals access to:
All of this may seem unlikely. But this is not speculative risk. A white-hat hacker friend of mine showed me that, in under an hour, he could hack into a TV and start watching people through the camera. Fortunately, for all of us, my friend is one of the good people trying to help companies improve technology security.
As TVs get smarter, manufacturers will be forced to put in more safety measures to keep families safe. Some things you can do now include:
For more tips on using technology safely, follow my blog.
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