FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live)- A warning tonight straight from the mouth of the FBI. It has to do with a Christmas gift you might have on your wish list, a smart TV. The agency is now saying as you're watching your favorite show or movie, your TV might be watching you back.
"Big brother, makes me nervous," says Aberdeen resident, Barry Coughlin.
Barry Coughlin is very careful when it comes to buying a TV. He doesn't have a smart TV but he says he doesn't need one. He likes the picture on his TV just fine, on top of that he's worried about a very serious threat that the FBI says is a growing problem.
"I’m a little leery of what the government is capable of doing. It just makes me nervous," says Coughlin.
Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation say smart TVs that come with all the bells and whistles like cameras and microphones, are often poorly secured by the people who make them. That could give hackers a chance to look right into your living room without you even knowing it.
Valley News Live: “Do you put tape on your laptop camera?”
"I do," says Coughlin.
That’s why Coughlin takes extra precautions with all of his smart devices and the guys over at Ware Repair tell us Coughlin has the right idea.
"One of the best things you can do is make sure you're doing the security updates for your device which is the TV, cell phone or even your laptop," says Ware Repair Owner, Danny Ware.
And if all else fails, they tell us to follow in Coughlin’s footsteps and slap some tape on the camera.
"It’s not on my radar at all in the near future," says Coughlin.
As for his Christmas wish list, you can bet a smart TV isn't on it.
Officials with the FBI say hackers can change channels and play with the volume but also do much more sinister things like turn on your TV’s camera and watch you. The agency urges you to understand your TV’s features and know how to disable them if needed.