Submitted by: Maryanne Dailey, Senior Vice President – Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont
One of the hot gift items this past December was an Internet-connected “smart TV,” but what many new owners don’t realize is that these TVs can be hacked — just like a computer or smartphone.
How the Scam Works
When you use your smart TV to browse the Internet or connect through apps, scammers can take advantage of security holes to gain access to your device. On some TVs, the apps aren’t as secure as those on your smartphone.
Once they hack your TV, scammers can access the camera and voice controls. They can use this to spy on your home (to time a break-in) or listen in on conversations. Scammers can also gain access to information on the machine, such as usernames and passwords, or even computers on the same network.
Smart TV hacking isn’t really a big issue yet. But as more people purchase these TVs, con artists are bound to find ways to use them for scams. This just happened with smartphones a few years ago.
Tips to keep your smart TV secure:
- Treat your TV like a computer. Your smart TV is a computer, so use the same common sense you would for keeping your laptop safe. For example, don’t visit suspicious websites or click on strange links.
- Keep your TV system up-to-date. Manufacturers will do their best to patch security holes. System updates are annoying but vital for protecting your device.
- Use Firewalls. Any device that connects to the Internet should be guarded by a firewall, and your smart TV is no exception. Be sure to use your smart TV’s built-in firewall settings and a router with an enabled firewall.
- Secure your network. Be sure your home’s wireless network is secure by having proper passwords and up-to-date software.
- Watch the camera. Assume your TV’s camera and microphone are turned on. If you are concerned, cover the camera with a piece of tape.
Learn more about the “The Internet of Things” and how to keep Internet-connected devices in your home secure in this infographic from the National Cyber Security Alliance. To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper.To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.