Buying a new TV is anything but dangerous, right? Apparently not, according to USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigation your smart TV could be the the real threat to your privacy. This warning issued by the FBI, add literal meaning the proverb, the walls have eyes and ears.
Smart TVs generally regular television sets but allow for internet connection and access through the built in features. With the recent advancement in web streaming services, most people saw internet-connected televisions as a wireless enthusiast’s dream. But with great internet connectivity, comes great security vulnerabilities. In case you don’t know, hackers love such vulnerabilities. Unlike most other internet enabled devices, the focus on security in the case of televisions is very lax.
“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,” wrote the FBI.
To look at it in simpler terms, why would a hacker want to hack your phone when hacking your TV is easier and serves the same purpose? Attacks and exploits on smart TVs are scarce, but still happen. Smart TVs come bundled with the manufacturer’s firmware which isn’t updated for months, even years at times. The updates provided are often unreliable and irregular with key security patches often left out. This causes the smart TVs to be more vulnerable than other devices.
Some of leading smart TV makers like Samsung and LG have been proved to collect information regarding what users watch and their viewing habits to sell the information to advertisers. This would help advertisers’ target more people with ads if they notice a similar pattern. Like for instance, you just watched a TV show and your Smart TV automatically suggests you watch the new James Bond movie. That is how tracking works. The FBI recommends covering your smart TVs camera and microphone with black tape to block visual and auditory inputs and, keeping your smart TV up-to-date with latest security patches. Even though Smart TVs are convenient and have helped seamless streaming, if privacy is your main concern it is advisable sticking to regular TVs for now.
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