Oregon FBI recently issued a cybersecurity warning to Smart TV owners stating that hackers can remotely turn on built-in microphones and cameras to spy on them. Could your crypto be at risk?
About 10 days ago, on November 26, 2019, Oregon FBI released another warning regarding modern technology and its vulnerability to hacking attacks. This time, the Bureau focused on Smart TVs, as the shopping season typically results in a lot of people purchasing new tech for their homes, and Smart TVs are especially popular.
As many are likely aware, Smart TVs are called ‘smart’ due to their connection to the internet, as well as a number of other features. Many models come with built-in cameras and microphones which have voice command capabilities and even facial recognition features.
Not to mention that a lot of people prefer to use their Smart TVs for video calls and chats with family and friends. All of this makes them rather useful and practical, but also dangerous, as hackers might gain access to them in order to spy on their owners.
What does this have to do with crypto?
Apart from being known for advanced hacking skills, cybercriminals are also known for innovative ideas, which are mostly used to harm their victims in one way or another. With direct access to the Smart TV owner’s living room, there is a lot that they can do to fulfill their goals.
Crypto users, in particular, need to be aware of cybercriminals’ potential presence, as any mention of private keys, exchange passwords, or similar sensitive information could be used to steal their funds.
However, that is only one scenario. Another big issue recently is the so-called ‘sextortion scam’, where hackers claim to have defamatory video content of PC users watching adult content and threaten to share it publicly unless a crypto ransom is paid. According to a Checkpoint Research report, just one sextortion scam bot, Trik, was able to earn 11 BTC in 5 months by sending over 30,000 scam emails an hour, and was estimated to have affected over 2.7 million individuals.
The FBI IC3 2018 report stated that sextortion scams had increased over 242% from the previous year, and netted cybercriminals over $83 million. Because of this highly lucrative system, it’s almost a certainty that Smart TV’s will become a new tool for hackers to use to continue extorting unsuspecting victims for crypto.
How to protect yourself?
As the FBI’s report correctly points out, TVs and technology have grown to become a major part of modern life, and they will not simply go away, with or without this type of threat.
The report suggests several methods of protecting yourself, all of which are rather sensible and potentially obvious to some, but still useful for those who are less familiar with the dangers of modern technology. One thing that everyone should do is familiarize themselves with the device, and learn exactly what features there are, and how to control them.
Another important thing to do is to set up a custom password for the TV, instead of leaving the default one, as that is as bad as inviting hackers in. Further, users can choose to turn off the camera, or at least cover it with black tape when they are not using it. The device should also be regularly updated.
However, even with all these precautions, it would be best to stay vigilant, and be careful about discussing passwords or private keys where the TV can ‘hear it.’
Users should remember that there is little that hackers can do if they take proper precautions. Meanwhile, users should report any attempt at blackmail or fraud to the authorities. This is as simple as submitting a complaint at www.IC3.gov, or contacting the local FBI office.
Are you aware of the dangers of not securing your Smart TV device? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock