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Securing your new Smart TV's

12/01/2020

 
Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott wanted to pass on some information about your new tv. If you plan on purchasing one during the holiday sales, ensure that your information is secure.
 
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 pick up the remote. Several of the newer TV's 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.
 
Beyond the risk that your TV manufacturer and app developers may be listening and watching you, that television can also be a gateway for hackers to come into your home. 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. They can change channels, play with the volume, play inappropriate videos, ect. Additionally, they can turn on your bedroom TV's camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you.
 
TVs and technology are a big part of our lives, and they aren't going away. Here are some suggestions on how you can protect your family.
 
• Know exactly what features your TV has and how to control those features. Do a basic Internet search with your model number and the words "microphone," "camera," and "privacy."
• Don't depend on the default security settings. Change passwords if you can - and know how to turn off the microphones, cameras, and collection of personal information if possible. If you can't turn them off, consider whether you are willing to take the risk of buying that model or using that service.
• If you can't turn off a camera but want to, a simple piece of black tape over the camera eye is a back-to-basics option.
• Check the manufacturer's ability to update your device with security patches. Can they do this? Have they done it in the past?
• Check the privacy policy for the TV manufacturer and the streaming services you use. Confirm what data they collect, how they store that data, and what they do with it.
 
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