Quick answer is… It’s a possibility! Some smart TVs do have cameras and microphones inside of them, and if you have not taken any precautions, it is a possibility.
But don’t worry, keep reading to ensure your security of your smart TV. Even the FBI has published warning consumers that it is a security issue! A lot of smart TVs have a built in camera. To dive deeper, they may be listening to what you are saying from the microphone too!
If you are streaming some like like Netflix or Hulu, then your TV is connected to the internet. Smart TVs use technology called automatic content recognition (ACR) to gather information about your viewings.
In the FBI’s warning they said most smart TV owners don’t take protective steps to protect and defend their smart devices. But just like everything else that connects to the internet, it needs to be protected.
Even if your TV is not watching or listening to you, it still could be using data collection software. he capabilities of smart TVs can go beyond data collection, though. In the worst-case scenario, the FBI warns.
That’s the data that is used to market you. Have you ever searched something on Amazon, then saw an ad on Facebook for that same product? This is a simplified way of how that is done. Scary isn’t it?
To go further, beyond advertisers, there could be a guy in their mom’s basement that hacks into your smart TV and watches you. The cyberstalk could watch your bedroom TV’s camera and microphone.
This could further than just your TV. They could be getting into your personal computer! But that is beyond the scope of this article, but you should still know and protect yourself.
Many Smart TVs DO have a camera installed
Some TVs even have some kind of facial recognition software to tell who is watching the TV. On top of that, you could have approved of this function if you have done any kind of two-way conversations on that TV. Using something like Zoom would ask for approval to use your tv’s camera and microphone. Additionally, if your remote is voice controlled, then it definitely has access to the microphone.
There are some big risks to not having your network & smart TV protected. If a hacker does gain access, they could do minimal things like change your channel, turn the volume up or down, or even put inappropriate things on the TV. There have been many things written about the warnings about smart TVs. So you definitely need to keep up to date with the latest of security risks, so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter!
There are even concerns that the government could be using smart TVs to spy on American. In 2017, Julian Assange from Wikileaks put an article about a tool that was developed by the Central Intelligence Agency. This tool is called “Weeping Angel”. This tool could monitor devices, like the Samsung smart TVs. Everything that was in the article was extremely scary!
Recent events of hacking smart TVs
To break it down, it was capable of seeing your WIFI login information, your browsing history, and even you had WIFI Protected Access. It did not matter if your TV was on or off. Weeping angel was able to stay active while your TV was in standby mode.
Not that long ago, hackers were able to hack into thousands of Chromecasts streaming devices. They were able to play YouTube videos that customers did not chose. The hackers even warned that it could have caused a lot more damage, but luckily they only played YouTube videos.
Another smart TV manufacturer, Vizio, had a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for $2.2 million dollars. This lawsuit claimed that they were using unauthorized tracking software. With its automated content recognition software in its 11 million internet connected smart TVs. They were able to learn what its users were watching, but also the IP addresses of the home network. They also learned the proximity of the home in relation to local landmarks, and zip codes. Then the Vizio TVs company was accused of sharing that information with other companies.
After the settlement finished, it was clear that smart TV makes need to get consent before they start collecting information. You should be able to go into your settings to see if you are currenting giving consent. Unfortunately, internet security on smart TVs of the manufacturer priority list.
While the internet grows and the popularity of smart TVs gets higher consumers need to make sure they are making sure they are protected.
The Basics of Securing Your Smart TV
Before we go to the smart TV, you need to make sure your wireless network is secure. On your smart device, go to your wireless networks. In there you will see your available networks (SSID).
By default, they usually have the brand name of the wireless router, IE LinksysXXXXX or NetGearXXXXX. If your wireless network is secure, it will show a lock. If you don’t see a lock, then you’ll have to make sure you set a password for your wireless network.
You can google your brand name wireless router + “change WIFI password”. This will protect your internet connected devices.
- First, make sure your familiar with the security features on your smart TV. You can even take it a step further and do a Google search of your TV model number and use words like “security”, “microphone”, “camera”, or “hack”.
- Secondly, don’t depend on the default security settings on your smart TV. Some TVs will allow you to change passwords, and you should. You should also know where the settings are for your microphones, cameras, and what personal data they collect. You will have the option to turn those settings off.
- Third, you can always go the old school way and put a piece of tape over the camera. I suggest using electrical tape, as it will blend in and you won’t even notice it.
- Fourth, check for software updates on your smart TV. Most manufacturer release security patches and updates as they arise. These updates could happen frequently, so check once a month.
Just doing these few steps greatly increases your security on your smart tv! If you found this article useful, let us know below!
Do they still make smart tv’s without cameras and microphones?
Yes, just make sure you do your research!
Does my smart TV have voice recognition software?
Probably, most smart TVs do have voice recognition software to better “aid” the consumer with voice commands.