What are the potential security risks to consumers using smart TVs?

Smart TV’s are growing in popularity. However, the FBI has warned that consumers need to familiarise themselves with some of the potential risks and dangers of not ensuring smart TV’s are kept secure from all times.

With many consumers shopping for a smart TV this holiday season, perhaps as a gift, or in the sales, new warnings have been issued about hackers, who can potentially use them to gain access to home networks or to control cameras and microphones.

In addition, hackers could be able to change channels, volume controls, and even show children and young people videos that aren’t appropriate.

The FBI wrote on its website, “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. In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV’s camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you.”

So, if you have a smart TV or are thinking of purchasing one, what can you do to protect yourself? The official advice from the FBI is:


  • Understand the device: First, make sure you understand the features your TV comes with and how to control them. If you’re not sure, you can perform an internet search with your model number and find the information you need. 
  • Customise your security settings: A lot of people rely on default security settings. However, it’s recommended that you change your passwords and learn how to turn off features like microphones and cameras. If they can’t be disabled, consider whether the risks of the model are worth the benefits.


  • “Back to Basics”: If necessary, you can place a piece of black tape over the camera, which will stop hackers being able to use it. 
  • Check the privacy policy: Lastly, make sure you have read and understood the privacy policy for the TV manufacturer and the services you use. Look out for which data they are going to collect, how they store it, and what they will do with it. 

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