As sales of smart TVs have boomed on this Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving weekend, the FBI has issued a warning that hackers are now becoming sophisticated enough to punch a hole on the cyber defenses of smart TV users.
In general, we use smart TVs to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, and such video streaming content. But on the contrary, hackers are using such smart TVs as gateways to quench their hacking thirst.
Reports are in that the bad guys can take full control of the smart TV to change channels, play with the sound controls, show children inappropriate web content and lastly turn the camera/microphone of the smart TV installed in the bedroom into an espionage device.
There is also a chance that these software-driven TVs can lead the hackers to compromise home Wi-Fi setup and perforate other devices on the network. Furthermore, Smart TVs can pose as botnets or act as a backdoor to other networks such as smart building systems.
Although the FBI did not specify anything about the botnets in its reports, it did say that Internet of Things (IoT) related devices are popular targets for ‘botherders’.
Note 1- There is a notion among tech geeks that smart TVs pass on content watching info of TV users to ad firms who can then target the users with relevant ads via IP address. And a discussion on Reddit has confirmed that LG and Samsung companies that offer smart TV solutions already collect info to pass on to advertisers.
Note 2- Early this year smart TV maker Vizio was penalized for passing on smart TV user info to ad firms in the UK and so had to shell out $2.2 million for secretly doing so.