FBI Warns Public About Smart TV Security Capabilities
If you just recently purchased a smart TV on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the FBI wants you
to know a couple of interesting details.
Smart TVs are regular television sets but with an accessible, exclusive internet connection. With the advent and growth of streaming services, most saw internet-connected televisions as a cord-cutter's dream. But like anything that connects to the internet, it opens up smart TVs to security vulnerabilities and even hackers. Many smart TVs come standard with a camera and a microphone. But as is the case with most other internet-connected devices, manufacturers often don't put security as a priority in order to boost corporate profits.
That is the major takeaway from the FBI's Portland field office, which posted a warning on its
website about the risks that smart TVs pose, just ahead of some of the biggest shopping days of the year. The FBI stated, "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. A bad cyber actor 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 router.”
The FBI warns users that hackers could potentially take control of unsecured smart TVs and in
worst cases, take control of the camera and microphone to watch and listen in. Active attacks and exploits against smart TVs are rare, but not completely unheard of. Because every smart TV comes with their manufacturer's own software and are at the mercy of their often unreliable and irregular security patching schedule, some devices are more vulnerable than others. This year, hackers hijacked Google's Chromecast streaming stick and broadcast random videos to thousands of victims.
As inconvenient as it might be, the most secure smart TV is essentially one that isn't connected to the internet at all.