North Alabama shoppers concerned after FBI warns of smart TV hack

Shoppers in north Alabama told us it's something they will think about when purchasing a TV this holiday season.

Posted: Dec 3, 2019 5:31 PM
Updated: Dec 3, 2019 7:06 PM

If you plan to buy a smart TV this holiday season, you should listen to this warning from the FBI.

The bureau said crooks can use that new TV to hack into your personal information, cameras and microphones to watch you in your home.

WAAY 31 talked with shoppers and a cyber expert about how you can protect yourself.

Eva Simmons said she's in the market for a new TV, but after we told her about the FBI's warning she's now thinking twice about what she plans to buy.

"It gives me cause for concern because do I really want a smart TV now?," she said. "Well it concerns me because I never really thought about that before because I don’t want them getting into my bank information, and I never thought about using a smart TV about them getting into your back account," she added.

We took her concerns to a cyber expert in Huntsville who specializes in security assessment to make sure companies aren't giving hackers a way into their homes. She said after hearing about the warning, she plans to review her smart TV's settings.

“I’m going to go back and go through all of my privacy settings to make sure nothing is set to default. I’m going to change the passwords that I can, and I'm going to make sure for the privacy settings that I do not allow them to collect my private information," said Cyber Expert, LaTara Allen.

She said the warning shouldn't deter anyone from buying a smart TV, just make them be proactive about protecting themselves from hackers.

"Invest in a camera cover if there is a camera cover and you are not using it, or you can just use black tape to cover up the camera lens to make sure if anyone is hacking into your camera they are not able to see what’s private in your home," Allen said.

She said everyone should update their TVs often.

"If you do not update your security patches, then you will not have the most secure software that they have available," Allen said.

Simmons said she's disappointed someone could possibly try to hack into her TV, but doesn't think it will stop her from purchasing the one she wants.

“Technology is great, but it comes to the point where it’s not great at all because of things like this and the good people have to pay for the bad people," she said.

The FBI suggests doing research before you buy a smart TV, so you understand any security vulnerabilities that could come with it.

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