How your smart TV could be vulnerable to hackers

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(NBC News) — Many of the smart TVs connected to the Internet and streaming apps like Netflix could be smarter than you think.

A new product test by Consumer Reports found “a relatively unsophisticated hacker” could take control from thousands of miles away and turn the volume up, change channels, or force it to play videos to harass or frighten you.

The vulnerabilities are found in smart TVs by Samsung, TCL, and others that are connected to the Roku TV platform.

Many of those models also track your personal viewing habits, thanks to terms of use that you agree with when setting it up.

Justin Brookman with Consumer Reports says most smart TVs “are configured to send back to the manufacture a minute-by-minute report of the things you are watching.”

That information allows companies to target ads to your TV or even other devices based on what you have watched.

Samsung responded in a statement, saying:”Protecting consumer data is one of our top priorities… Before collecting any information from consumers, we always ask for their consent, and we make every effort to ensure that data is handled with the utmost care.”

Roku says it “takes security very seriously. There is no security risk to our customers’ accounts or to the Roku platform as stated by Consumer Reports.”

To protect yourself, security experts recommend changing your settings by opting out of data collection, always downloading softward security updates, and using a password to protect your Wi-Fi network, because you do not know who else may be watching.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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