JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Since they were invented, we’ve gotten to watch them. But now new televisions can watch US. That means hackers have a window right inside your home.
The newest TVs are indeed brilliant in many ways. Some are actually called "Smart TVs."
They’re equipped with their own HD camera for Skype calls and even facial recognition allowing viewers to change the channels by physical gestures.
Local network security expert Daren Dillinger spoke with Action News about how hacking issues on some Samsung Smart televisions was recently discovered by a security firm. The television's own camera can allow attackers to spy on you in your own home.
"It is big brother where literally they can see you and you don't know someone is seeing you," said Dillinger.
These smart TVs connect to computer networks, many of which are vulnerable to hacking without proper firewalls.
A Samsung spokesperson told Action News on Wednesday, “We have discovered that only in extremely unusual circumstances a connectivity issue arises between Samsung Smart TVs released in 2011 and other connected devices. We assure our customers that our Smart TVs are safe to use.”
The company also plans to release a software patch for these TVs as an additional layer of security against hackers. But that patch won’t be available until January at the earliest.
"If I purchased one of those television sets," said Dillinger, "The first thing I would do is take some black electrical tape and put it over the camera."
But if you think avoiding a Samsung and buying another brand of smart television for Christmas will keep someone from spying on your holiday celebration, Dillinger says, "Other brands will go in and re-label the Samsung. So it affects not only Samsung, but other manufacturers as well."
Experts advise activating a firewall on your network and registering your new television with the manufacturer so they can contact you for security updates.