Can your Smart TV watch you secretly? FBI Warning

A few days back I came across a warning which said that smart TV’s can possibly spy on its owner and frankly I was not surprised. Then I read the FBI press release


“FBI Warns about smart TV’s security”

In a recent press release published on 26 Nov, 2019 FBI warned about the possible security issues possessed from smart TV’s.

Smart TV can play your favourite movie or song directly from the Internet. You can stream anytime and binge-watch shows anytime. But, since smart TV’s can connect to the Internet directly it can also lead hackers directly to your home network. On a small scale attack, the TV can be controlled remotely where the attacker can mess around with the volume or change the channel of the TV. However, there could also be greater risks where the hacker can listen to your conversations through the microphone or spy on you through the camera directly. Not only hackers but even your TV or App manufacturer might be listening to you. That’s what the FBI believes:-

” 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. ”

– FBI in their press release

What the FBI recommends for you to stay safe?

  • Try to change the default passwords of your TV
  • Do an Internet search of your TV model along with keywords “privacy”, “microphone”, “camera”
  • 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.
  • Check the manufacturer’s ability to update your device with security patches. Additionally, check when was your TV last updated.
  • 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.

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