Hackers next target: Smart TV's

FILE - In this photo taken Aug. 14, 2015, file photo a Samsung Smart TV is for sale in Sacramento, Calif. Owners of these new smart TV's have been surprised to learn their household conversations could be recorded without their knowledge.... (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) -  The Better Business Bureau is warning those who may have a new smart television about how to protect against hackers.

It is possible for your smart television and its camera to be hacked because an internet connection is available.

When you use your smart TV at home to browse the internet, scammers can take advantage of security holes to gain access to your device.

Once hacked, scammers can access the camera or microphone to spy on your home and even gain information you've stored on your television.

Julie Wheeler, President of the BBB in Roanoke says free help from the manufacturer is available.

"You want to make sure that you keep your tv up to date. The manufacturer keeps software updates that is on there for download," Wheeler said.

Wheeler says to always use a firewall to protect your internet connection from hackers.

She also suggests covering the TV's camera when it's not in use.

The BBB sent the information below about potential scams surrounding Smart TV's:

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.

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