Back in the early decades of the television, the biggest concern was that watching too much of it would rot your brain. Now, people have to worry about their TV spying or eavesdropping on them. The advent of smart TVs, with built-in apps and interactive voice and camera features, has revolutionized the boob tube, but also brings massive privacy concerns. The FBI recently issued a warning to holiday shoppers about the danger of these smart TVs---which are always online---to be hacked.
Digital expert Kim Komando covered this topic on her show, with guest Pam Dixon from the World Privacy Forum. Dixon said anyone who owns a smart TV should keep it on a network protected by a strong firewall. "You're going to want some kind of protective router or something like that," says Dixon. "You need to find a way to make sure your devices have a built-in firewall---which a lot of them do---or, you need to make sure you have them behind a firewall."
You also need to protect all of your digital connections with strong and unique passwords. "The biggest risk of hacks is from your username and password," says Dixon. "If you use the same ones in multiple instances on different sites, you're in a lot of trouble, because that's just gold for hackers."
Other recommendations for smart TV owners are to cover any cameras with black tape while you're not using them, and be especially careful when making purchases through a connected TV. "You have to make sure that when you're typing in your financial information to your TV, that your television is connected in a safe way," says Dixon.
Ultimately, it's up to consumers to be proactive when looking at new televisions and ask plenty of questions before buying---in other words, be smarter than your smart TV. "The best question to ask is when I plug this device in, how secure will my information be, and what do I need to do to make it more secure," says Dixon.