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Is Your “Smart” TV Watching You? FBI Warning

Portland, Ore -- As the holidays near and deals tempt, shoppers are carting home all manner of tech gifts, including “smart” TVs. Whether the TVs are smart or not, the manufacturers certainly have additional ideas on how to get value out of making them, beyond the one-time sale to the consumer. As per a recent press release from the FBI’s Oregon field office, those smart TVs contain features and functions that could make Christmas less than jolly, including abilities to spy through cameras and microphones, gather data on TV viewing habits and send all that information to the manufacturer and third parties. It turns that old Cold War joke (“In Soviet Russia, TV watches you!”) to a new reality here in America.

Worse, those very features that the manufacturer put in to generate secondary revenue streams from the data gathered on smart TV owners can also be exploited by hackers to build their own illicit revenue streams and spread their nefarious reach.

The palliative measures often suggested to address such security risks are too weak to manage the data-collective and internet-connective features that today’s high tech gadgets routinely employ. If all it took was changing passwords and getting familiar with a smart TV’s or other gadget’s features, we would all be secure and safe. Yet, it isn’t so. The problem stems not from lack of utilization of unique passwords, but from the complete lack of visibility into what all of our high-tech, connected devices are actually doing and whom they are communicating with.

Spying of any type, whether by official, commercial or criminal elements, succeeds because it is hidden, it is in the dark. It’s not that we don’t put locks on our doors or passwords on our computers and smart TVs – it’s that we don’t know who or what is trying to get in (or out). Illuminating your smart TV’s secret undertakings is the first step, and once you know what your TV is doing, blocking the connections you don’t want are what will get you the security and peace of mind to enjoy your holidays to the fullest.

Happy Holidays from IPCopper.

LAD: LateralAccessDevice is software that turns a computer chassis into a high-performance, multi-purpose Internet / network tool that combines multi-dimensional firewalling, network monitoring, access control, packet capture, DNS, NAT and a host of other applications into one easy to use, integrated, high-security package. LAD takes you back to before the Internet!