The Oregon FBI has issued a public advisory alerting US consumers about the backdoor hazards associated with new smart televisions that come equipped with unsecured cameras and microphones.
Customers who recently scored Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on state-of-the-art smart TVs may want to reconsider letting the tech into their home following a recent public notice from the FBI.
While it’s not uncommon for consumers to suspect there is a risk of someone – whether it be the product manufacturer, a government agency or a hacker – listening in on conversations through voice-activated devices and remotes, authorities are now warning families of the dangers and hackability of newer TVs with built-in cameras.
The prospect of being hacked is enough for many to return or exchange their TVs, but there are options for those who wish to remain committed to their new TVs, yet also want to safeguard their households.
One simple step the FBI recommends consumers take to learn more about their TV is an online search including the unit’s model number and any combination of the words “microphone,” “camera” and “privacy.”
“Don’t depend on the default security settings. Change passwords if you can – and know how to turn off the microphones, cameras, and collection of personal information if possible,” the notice advises. “If you can’t turn them off, consider whether you are willing to take the risk of buying that model or using that service.”