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FBI Warns Hackers Can Spy On You Through Your Smart TV

According to a newly released FBI report, TVs equipped with internet and facial recognition capabilities are easier to hack.
Posted at 7:41 PM, Dec 03, 2019

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are over, brand new smart TVs are shipping across the country. But be aware that hackers may use them to watch you.

The FBI has issued a new warning: Televisions equipped with internet and facial recognition capabilities make it easier for "cyber actors" to take control of unsecured TVs.

"Once they get into your network, once they get behind the firewall in your router, they can get into your computer, get your personal information, listen to conversations that you're having, pick up on information. They can visually see you through the camera. There's a lot of different ways they can access that information," PC Matic Senior Vice President Justin Evans said.

Evans says there are some blatant signs a system has been hacked.  

"If you see a lot of change in the behavior on the television where it's being very slow to react to commands, or there's some latency with how it's communicating back to your router, that's a good indication that something is wrong," he said.

Hackers can then do everything from cyberstalking to playing with the volume, changing channels and even showing children inappropriate videos.

"The unfortunate reality is there's really no protection in the market right now for the internet of things devices," Evans said.

But he says customers can protect themselves and their personal information if they educate themselves on the devices' security settings, keep all devices updated to the latest firmware, consistently change network passwords, and learn how to enable or disable microphones and cameras.

And if your smart TV does not allow you to disable the camera, Evans recommends using a piece of black tape to cover the lens or even disconnecting the device from your network.