You’ve probably heard that smart TVs are “spying” on you, or that hackers can access them to conduct nefarious activities in your living room. But is this just an urban legend, fueled by Facebook rumors, or is there some truth to this story?

While many of us have laughed at these stories in the past, the FBI has actually jumped on board now. While there is no known, ongoing hacking event happening at the moment, smart TVs do indeed pose at least a theoretical risk. That might not concern you too much regarding your home television, but you might want to think twice before bringing one into the office and connecting it to your workplace network.

Why? Many smart TVs are now equipped with a camera and microphone, so theoretically a hacker could exploit these tools to gather information from inside your office. More practically, any device connected to your network is a potential entry site to your network. In other words, the person who hacks into your smart TV can also access any other machine on your office network; that’s a problem.

As the FBI posted on their website, “Beyond the risk that your TV manufacturer and app developers may be listening and watching you, that television can also be a gateway for hackers to come into your home. A bad cyber actor may not be able to access your locked-down computer directly, but it is possible that your unsecured TV can give him or her an easy way in the backdoor through your router.”

Such attacks are rare, but they do happen. Adding to the problem is the fact that smart TV manufacturers vary wildly regarding how seriously they view this problem. Security patches are released only sporadically for many models, if at all. It’s difficult to know which models might be more susceptible to hacking than others.

If you do bring a smart TV into the office, place black tape over the camera and microphone. Install any security patches as soon as you’re notified, or consider using it on a separate network from your other business equipment – particularly machines that back up sensitive data.

If you have any other questions about internet security, give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH. We can help you keep your network safe, as technology changes and presents new challenges.