FBI warns of smart TVs – and explains how to protect yourself

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Smart TVs are extremely handy. They connect directly to the Internet, stream series, movies and much more directly and without additional equipment in the living room. And some are even easy to use via voice control. But these very practical features are also dangerous.

The US federal police warned in a text published shortly before Black Friday. The timing is of course no coincidence: In the US as well as in this country television is one of the most popular purchases on bargain-day. And many get such a spy in the house, warns the FBI. While customers are still aware of the dangers of computers and smartphones, many are astonishingly blue-eyed at their TVs. They offer hackers a lot of attack points.

Dangers like on the PC

Above all, the microphones and cameras installed in many devices are a thorn in the side of the officials. They would indeed make it possible to control the television by acclamation and to bring by video call the grandma on the telly. In return, they put the users in danger: Not only the manufacturers, but also app developers and hackers could gain access to the recording devices and listen to the users and film in intimate moments. This is not a purely theoretical danger: A British couple discovered sex videos of themselves on porn sites – taken from their hacked TV.

Another risk: The TVs are often insufficiently secured against attacks. Hacking them is therefore often incomparably easier than with devices that are protected with anti-virus software. Once in the system, the attackers can then spread across the network and take over the router to target other devices.

These tips are given by the FBI

  • One should be very aware of what features the TV has and how to turn them off. Basically, you should google the model number with “Camera” and “Privacy”
  • Presets are not enough for security. One should change each password, turn off all sniffer functions. If that is not possible, you should buy another device. A camera could also be masked by tape
  • Also important is the update policy of the manufacturer: He slammed in the past for updates and security patches, should you seek alternatives
  • Finally, you should also check the data collection of the manufacturer and the used streaming provider. In fact, manufacturers have already admitted listening directly to their customers and selling the data.

Basically, the security measures are similar to those when buying a smartphone or computer. At one point, some manufacturers even go further: Samsung recommended in the summer to install on their own smart TVs even an anti-virus program.

Source: FBI Oregon

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