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US citizens have been warned that hackers could be watching them in their homes through their smart TVs.
The Oregon branch of the FBI posted on their website to warn the public that the devices' built-in cameras and microphones could be used by cyber criminals to listen to or watch them go about their business. Creepy.
In its 'Tech Tuesday' feature, the intelligence agency wrote: "Smart TVs are called that because they connect to the internet. They allow you to use popular streaming services and apps. Many also have microphones for those of us who are too lazy to actually to pick up the remote. Just shout at your set that you want to change the channel or turn up the volume and you are good to go.
"A number of the newer TVs also have built-in cameras. In some cases, the cameras are used for facial recognition so the TV knows who is watching and can suggest programming appropriately. There are also devices coming to market that allow you to video chat with grandma in 42" glory."
It goes on to say that the risk starts with the possibility of TB manufacturers and app developers could be watching and listening to you - potentially for marketing purposes. But it also says it could be a 'gateway for hackers to come into your home'.
It continues: "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.
"Hackers can also take control of your unsecured TV. At the low end of the risk spectrum, they can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos. In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV's camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you."
The advice the FBI gives is to firstly do an internet search with the model number of your device and the words 'microphone', 'camera' and 'privacy' - do not depend on default settings.
Change passwords and turn off mics and cameras - if you can't then consider a 'simple piece of black tape over the camera eye'.
It also suggests to check the manufacturer's ability to update your device with security patches, and if in doubt check passwords.
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