Why is the FBI warning about smart TV cybersecurity?
Because a smart TV is a computer — it is just built into a really large monitor — and it should be secured like a computer because hackers can hack it just like any other computer. (See FBI Warning)
Smart TVs have an advanced processor, RAM, hard drive, software, and an operating system. Most now also have a camera and microphone and, perhaps most important of all, they are connected to the Internet.
Because we know that hackers are going to hack, this raises a lot of concerns about hackers using smart TVs as an entry point into computer networks (such as your home or business) and using the microphone and TV to snoop on you and publicize videos of your Netflix and chill moments.
We also know that manufacturers of smart TVs generally are not prioritizing security.
What does this all mean?
It means you need to take steps to secure your smart TV just as you would any other computer. Here are a few recommendations:
- Cover the camera — perhaps with black tape.
- Regularly update the “computer” to apply security patches.
- Pay attention to your passwords — change the manufacturer’s default passwords and use a good password as you should use on your other computers.
- Use good cyber hygiene (see Checklist for Good Cyber Hygiene).
- Familiarize yourself with the privacy and security controls and default settings — you may not realize it but, by default, you may be opting to share all of your “private” viewing history and habits with the world!