Find out if your smart TV was hacked in three easy steps (2023)

Imagine buying a shield — only to have someone rip it out of your hands and beat you with it. Metaphorically speaking, that can happen when you don’t secure smart home devices.

Take your security devices, for instance. If you don’t protect them with strong passwords, the tech you bought to protect yourself can put you in danger. Tap or click here for four ways to keep hackers out of your smart home security cameras.

Bottom line: Hackers can break into anything in your smart home. That’s why you must secure your internet-connected devices — including your smart TV. If you’ve wondered, “Can someone see me through my smart TV?” the answer might be yes.

How hackers get into your smart TV

You might not even realize there’s a camera on your smart TV. But there likely is! They’re more common than ever before.

Maybe you read this and wondered, “Do all smart TVs have cameras in 2022?” Not all of them have cameras. It depends on the brand and model you buy.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you can make video calls on TV, you probably have a camera. Tap or click here for five more things you didn’t know your smart TV could do.

To spot the camera, search the edges of your TV screen. Look closely enough, and you should be able to find the hidden lens.

Sure, your smart TV’s camera is useful. But it’s also risky.

Let’s say you connected your smart TV to your home’s network. If a hacker breaches your home network, everything attached to your system is in danger. You guessed it: That includes your TV.

A motivated hacker could record you through your smart TV. Imagine what your private moments could be worth in the wrong hands. If you don’t protect your network, you may be inviting creeps, from perverts to government-sanctioned stalkers.

Photo129903087©Vasile Bobirnac|

Yep, that happened. According to Forbes, the CIA used malware to break in and listen to people through their Samsung smart TVs in 2014.

RELATED: How to lock down your Wi-Fi and protect your home

Maybe you’ve been alone in the house and felt like you weren’t truly alone. Perhaps you wondered, “Can someone see me through my smart TV?” Without further ado, here are three ways to determine if your smart TV was hacked.

1. Want to find out if your smart TV was hacked? Look for strange setting changes

Hackers won’t announce their presence. They want to bide their time and collect private data right under your nose. To sniff them out, check your settings and see if anything has changed.

There are subtle red flags to look out for, like:

  • The camera or microphone icon pops up: This could be a sign that someone else is using your device. However, it could also be that you hit the mic button on the remote by accident.
  • Random pop-ups appear on your screen: Malware can be the source behind strange pop-ups, though it’s possible that Roku is trying to show you ads.
  • Sudden volume changes: Maybe your volume is much lower than you wanted, right after you turned it up. This could mean hackers are fiddling with your settings and turning down the volume, so you don’t hear any of your smart TV’s sound effects.

2. You find unfamiliar video files in your folders

Many smart TVs have internal storage. Everything depends on the brand and model, but you can root around the settings section to find your device preferences and storage folders. Dig around enough, and you might find weird webcam video files you didn’t record or save on your own.

Once you find these, it’s time to change your Wi-Fi and router passwords. Tap or click here for a few ways to create strong, hard-to-crack passwords. While you’re at it, double-check your app usage, too.

3. Check your app usage to find out if your smart TV was hacked

So you suspect that someone is watching you through your smart TV. But you want to ensure you’re dealing with a smart TV hack before you start Googling phrases like “How do you stop your smart TV from spying on you,” or “Can someone see me through my smart TV?”

One quick way to find out is by opening your settings and checking your smart TV’s app usage. In the apps section on your smart TV, you can see how much time you spend on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Apple TV and more. This can help pinpoint any strange app activity.

  • Have trouble finding apps on your smart TV? The exact steps you need to take depend on the type of smart TV you’re using.
  • Good news: We put together a guide that breaks it all down, step by step and brand by brand. Tap or click here to find and manage apps on your smart TV.

Now that you’re looking through your app usage, try to find strange activity. Maybe an app has been used recently, but you can’t remember using it. Unauthorized app usage or activity suggests hackers got into your smart TV. Just make sure to double-check with everyone else who lives in your home, too.

BONUS: To find out if your smart TV was hacked, check your credit card transactions

Most hackers have one thing on the brain: Money. Breaking into your smart TV gives hackers a few money-making opportunities. They can use this invasion to take over the rest of your system.

Once they find your passwords, they have the keys to the kingdom. They might find your financial information and start buying stuff with your credit cards.

So check with both your bank and your internet service provider. If you find any unauthorized charges, that’s yet another sign your smart TV was hacked. If cybercriminals stole your financial data, make sure to freeze your credit so they can’t open accounts in your name.

How to protect your smart TV from hackers

Now that you know you’re dealing with a smart TV hack, there’s one silver lining: You know what you’re dealing with. Use these tips to stop someone from connecting to your smart TV:

  • Opt for a wired connection: It’s easy for criminals to hijack a wireless connection. You may want to switch to wired for more protection.
  • Update your smart TV’s software: Regular system updates are non-negotiable. Cybersecurity experts patch old bugs in each update. Downloading them helps you stay safe.
  • Protect your router: Change these router settings to keep hackers out of your home.
  • Disconnect your smart TV’s Wi-Fi when you aren’t using it: This may be inconvenient, but it’s worth the extra 30 seconds it’ll take to turn the Wi-Fi on the next time you watch.
  • Use strong passwords: Make sure you aren’t using the 20 worst passwords.

While you’re at it, only download reputable TV apps like the ones from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more. We know you might want to save a buck and take a chance on a free service — but there are too many shady ones hiding malware.

Luckily, we researched for you. We found a few free apps that are 100% legitimate and won’t cause your smart TV any problems. Tap or click here for 15 safe streaming services you can use to watch free movies online.


What are 3 ways you can ensure your safety if you get hacked? ›

4 Things to Keep You Cyber Safe
  • Turn on Multifactor Authentication. Implement multi-factor authentication on your accounts and make it significantly less likely you'll get hacked.
  • Update Your Software. Update your software. ...
  • Think Before You Click. Think before you click. ...
  • Use Strong Passwords.
Dec 18, 2022

Has my TV been hacked? ›

New apps and files appearing out of nowhere on your smart TV is a sign that your TV may have been hacked. Hackers will install malicious apps or malware onto your device, granting them access to your data. This malware may also cause your TV to glitch or lag. They may also record video and audio of you.

Can hackers access my smart TV? ›

If your TV is connected to a Wi-Fi network, it's vulnerable to being hijacked by hackers. By using tools such as packet sniffers and keyloggers, hackers can gain access to the Wi-Fi password and take control of your device.

What is the first thing you do when you get hacked? ›

Update your security software, run a scan, and delete any malware. Start with this important step — especially if you're not sure how someone hacked into your account. Use either the security software that comes with your computer, phone, or tablet or download software from a reputable, well-known security company.

What are 4 things to do when you get hacked? ›

10 Things to Do ASAP When You've Been Hacked
  • Forewarned Is Forearmed. 1/10. ...
  • Recover or Report. 2/10. ...
  • Change Your Passwords. 3/10. ...
  • Check Your Settings. 4/10. ...
  • Protect Your Other Accounts. 5/10. ...
  • Notify Your Contacts. 6/10. ...
  • Ensure Financial Account Security. 7/10. ...
  • Take Action Against Identity Theft. 8/10.

Do I do if I've been hacked? ›

You've Been Hacked!? Here's What You Need to Do (2023 Guide)
  • Step 1: Immediately change your passwords.
  • Step 2: Quickly assess the situation.
  • Step 3: Create fraud alerts for your credit.
  • Step 4: Go back and set up 2-factor authentication.
  • Step 5: Monitor your accounts closely for a while.
Jan 31, 2023

What happens when your device is hacked? ›

When a hacker gets into your phone, they will try to steal access to your valuable accounts. Check your social media and email for password reset prompts, unusual login locations or new account signup verifications. You notice unfamiliar calls or texts in your logs. Hackers may be tapping your phone with an SMS trojan.

What happens when you get hacked? ›

This can be really serious, hackers can use your identity details to open bank accounts, get credit cards, order products in your name, take over existing accounts and take out mobile phone contracts. Hackers could even get genuine documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name once they have stolen your ...

How do I make my smart TV safe? ›

If your smart TV has a firewall as well, turn it on. Lastly, disable router features that you are not using, and make sure the router software is always up to date. Keep Your Smart TV Software Up To Date – Updates usually provide more security by patching vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.

Can hacker see your screen? ›

Can a hacker access my computer camera, microphone, and screen? Yes. Cybercriminals use malware like spyware to remotely access and control your camera, microphone, and screen. In fact, malicious actors often use camera and microphone recordings to blackmail people.

How do you tell if your TV has a hidden camera? ›

Cameras on Smart TVs are often found at the upper edges of the TV, on the bezels. A small circle for the lens usually denotes these cameras. What is this? If the unit has thin bezels, these cameras are hidden within this location, and usually are popped out when needed.

Can a Neighbour connect to my smart TV? ›

Hi, If your neighbors share a wifi network with you then they will be able to cast or control your cast devices.

Can a Roku TV get hacked? ›

Is It Possible to Hack a Roku? Yes, hackers can exploit any device connected to the internet, including a Roku. To protect yourself, have a secure password on your accounts, including your WiFi connection.

What does getting hacked look like? ›

Frequent pop-up windows, especially the ones that encourage you to visit unusual sites, or download antivirus or other software. Changes to your home page. Mass emails being sent from your email account. Frequent crashes or unusually slow computer performance.

What is the most common way to get hacked? ›

Phishing is the most common hacking technique. All of our inboxes and text messaging apps are filled with phishing messages daily.

Who should you contact if you get hacked? ›

Every complaint and report matters when trying to stop hackers. Report the issue to the FBI via their Internet Crime Complaint Center. And lastly, contact your State Attorney General's Office.

What information do hackers ask for? ›

Many online services require users to fill in personal details such as full name, home address and credit card number. Criminals steal this data from online accounts to commit identity theft, such as using the victim's credit card or taking loans in their name.

How do hackers try to trick you? ›

The process of getting tricked into giving your sensitive information to a hacker is called phishing. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information, or data, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

How do hackers target you? ›

Breeching your home Wi-Fi: Hackers can also target you through unprotected networks, dated firewalls, and unpatched devices. Anything connected to an unprotected network, such as your phone, laptop, or even home security system, can be easily infiltrated by bad actors.

Do hackers know your password? ›

Keylogger programs enable hackers to spy on you, as the malware captures everything you type. Once inside, the malware can explore your computer and record keystrokes to steal passwords. When they get enough information, hackers can access your accounts, including your email, social media, and online banking.

Can you protect yourself from being hacked? ›

Make sure you update your software and apps regularly and get rid of old apps you don't use. Use a password, lock code, or encryption. Be skeptical about links and attachments. If you're not sure about the source, don't use the link or open the attachment.

How do you know if your IP address has been hacked? ›

If you notice your antivirus turns off on its own, there's a hacker at work. Strange things are happening onscreen. Except for annoying, intrusive online ads, there shouldn't be too many onscreen surprises. If you see strange things—toolbars, pop-ups, new programs you didn't have before—it's likely you've been hacked.

Can a device be hacked if it is turned off? ›

The study by researchers from the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany found that a chip that enables Bluetooth can be exploited and hacked in order to instal malware on the device without the user's permission - even though the phone is switched off.

Can you remove a hacker from your phone? ›

Yes, you should be able to remove a hacker by doing a factory reset on your phone. Keep in mind that this solution will remove all of your data, including contacts, third-party apps, photos, and other files. You will need to set up your phone entirely from scratch.

Does your phone let you know if you have been hacked? ›

Poor performance: If your phone shows sluggish performance like crashing of apps, freezing of the screen and unexpected restarts, it is a sign of a hacked device. Unrecognised apps: If you notice any unrecognised applications downloaded on your device, it could be the work of a hacker.

Does changing your password stop hackers? ›

A hacker may attempt to access your account more than once over a period of time. Changing your password often reduces the risk that they will have frequent access.

Why am I suddenly getting hacked? ›

There are two big reasons why people get hacked. Flaws in software and flaws in human behaviour. While there's not much you can do yourself about coding vulnerabilities, you can change your own behaviour and bad habits. The risks are just as real for the average person – even if the stakes aren't quite so high.

What causes you to get hacked? ›

Many people set up unique passwords for their computer or phone, but neglect to do so for their Internet router or other smart device. Unknown to the user, hackers can easily gain access to these devices, and use them to flood websites with so much traffic the site goes down or hack into your network.

How can I make my TV Safe? ›

8 Simple Tips for Childproofing Your TV and Entertainment Center
  1. Mount It On the Wall. ...
  2. Mount Your TV With Straps. ...
  3. Consider Professional Installation. ...
  4. Tie Off and Hide Loose Cords and Ends. ...
  5. Do the Same With All Other Appliances. ...
  6. Clear or Block Off the Space in Front of Your TV. ...
  7. Round Off Any Sharp Edges.
Jan 12, 2022

Can someone watch you through your TV? ›

When you use a smart TV, you face the same security and privacy risks as with any device connected to the internet. Your smart TV's built-in camera and microphone, originally included for voice and facial recognition features, can be accessed by hackers and used to spy on you.

Can hackers hear you through your phone? ›

Yes, hackers may be able to hear you if they've gained access to your phone's camera and microphone.

Can hackers see your phone camera? ›

YES, your phone camera can be easily hacked. Hackers can use your smartphone's camera to hack your device and spy on you and get access to your phone without your knowledge!

Is my smart TV watching me? ›

Yes, your smart TV is watching you, in the sense that it collects data about what you watch. Smart TV surveillance uses automatic content recognition (ACR) to gather data about your viewing habits. Your smart TV may also have a smart TV camera and microphone to help with data collection.

Do smart TVs have hidden cameras? ›

Smart TVs may contain a camera, which can be found on the top edge of the TV. These TVs may also include microphones or collect viewing data. The options to turn off each of these features typically reside in the settings menu.

How does smart TV connect people from each other? ›

Most smart TVs connect via Wi-Fi, although some can connect via Ethernet.

Where is the camera on a smart TV? ›

The location of a camera on a Smart TV depends on the manufacturer. Typically, most cameras on Smart TVs are often found at the upper edges and on the bezels. Summarily, if you see a small circle with a tiny red lens, it implies that it's the camera. Below are some manufacturers and where their cameras are hidden.

How do you fix a spy camera in a room? ›

Connect your new hidden camera to a computer using its USB cable and the computer's USB port. If the cable is too short, attach it to a USB extender. Install the webcam spy software of your choice and check to see if your camera is working. Test your camera by waving your hand in front of it.

How do I open the camera on my TV? ›

How to Hook up a Smart TV Webcam via USB Port
  1. Using a USB cable, connect the webcam and insert the other end into an empty USB port on your smart TV. ...
  2. Select the Source or Input button on the TV remote control.
  3. Go through the input sources until you can see your webcam display on your smart TV Screen.
May 21, 2022

How do I stop people from casting to my TV? ›

Turn off Cast media control notifications for your device
  1. Open the Google Home app .
  2. Touch and hold your device's tile tap Settings. Recognition & sharing.
  3. Turn Let others control your cast media off.

Can someone connect to my TV without Wi-Fi? ›

Screen mirroring that uses wireless display technology like Miracast actually creates a direct wireless connection between the sending device and the receiving device. Therefore, no Wi-Fi or internet connection is required to mirror your phone screen onto your smart TV.

How can someone cast to my TV? ›

Cast content from your device to your TV
  1. Connect your device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Android TV.
  2. Open the app that has the content you want to cast.
  3. In the app, find and select Cast .
  4. On your device, select the name of your TV.
  5. When Cast. changes color, you're successfully connected.

What happens if your TV gets hacked? ›

Like computers, smart TVs run on software, but they don't have the same strong antivirus and firewall systems installed. Once the TV gets infected, all the browsing history, passwords, and other private data become accessible to hackers.

Can a hacker turn on my TV? ›

The FBI says many smart TVs are unsecured, making them vulnerable to hackers. If they can take it over, they could turn it off and on, raise the volume or activate the camera to watch you. In a worst-case scenario, the FBI claims, hackers could stalk you through your bedroom TV's camera and microphone.

What are 3 tips to protect the security of your computer or your private information? ›

"Top 10" List of Secure Computing Tips
  • Tip #1 - You are a target to hackers. ...
  • Tip #2 - Keep software up-to-date. ...
  • Tip #3 - Avoid Phishing scams - beware of suspicious emails and phone calls. ...
  • Tip #4 - Practice good password management. ...
  • Tip #5 - Be careful what you click. ...
  • Tip #6 - Never leave devices unattended.

What are the 3 most important things you do to protect your security online? ›

Top tips for staying secure online
  • Top tips for staying secure online.
  • Use a strong and separate password for your email.
  • Install the latest software and app updates.
  • Turn on 2-step verification (2SV)
  • Password managers: using browsers and apps to safely store your passwords.
  • Backing up your data.
  • Three random words.

In what ways can you avoid being hacked? ›

5 Ways to Avoid the Risk of Being Hacked
  • Use strong passwords. You're at a greater risk of being hacked if you use basic passwords for your important accounts. ...
  • Enable two-factor authentication. ...
  • Avoid linking accounts. ...
  • Train your team. ...
  • Never leave your laptop or mobile phone unattended. ...
  • Conclusion.

What are three ways a person can keep their information safe? ›

Here are some practical steps you can take today to tighten up your data security.
  • Back up your data. ...
  • Use strong passwords. ...
  • Take care when working remotely. ...
  • Be wary of suspicious emails. ...
  • Install anti-virus and malware protection. ...
  • Don't leave paperwork or laptops unattended. ...
  • Make sure your Wi-Fi is secure.
Aug 8, 2022

What protects your device against unauthorized access? ›

Software firewall - A software firewall is a software program you install on your computer to helps protect it from unauthorized incoming and outgoing data.

What technology can prevent a hacker from using your computer? ›

Firewalls prevent unauthorized access to your business network and alert you to any intrusion attempts. Make sure the firewall is enabled before you go online.

How do I keep my address private? ›

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Privacy
  1. Immediately establish a P.O. Box or CMRA (commercial mail-receiving agency) and NEVER receive mail or packages at home. ...
  2. Remove your home address from any of your company filings with the State and DO NOT serve as your own Registered Agent sharing your home/street address.

How can I secure myself on the Internet? ›

Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Identity Online
  1. Use Strong Passwords. ...
  2. Look for Encryption. ...
  3. Install Security Suites. ...
  4. Turn on Web Browser Blacklisting. ...
  5. Avoid Phishing Scams. ...
  6. Get Private Data Protection. ...
  7. Password-Protect Your Wireless Router. ...
  8. Hide Your Personal Information.
Nov 25, 2019

How do I make sure my identity is safe? ›

Use this checklist to protect yourself from identity theft.
  1. Keep your mail safe. ...
  2. Read your account statements. ...
  3. Check your credit reports. ...
  4. Shred! ...
  5. Store personal documents at home. ...
  6. Be wary of unknown phone calls and emails. ...
  7. Create difficult logins and passwords. ...
  8. Use one credit card for online shopping.

What are three things you should avoid doing to stay safe while using the Internet? ›

Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with. Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email. Keep personal information personal.

What do hackers hack the most? ›

The biggest motivation is often financial gain. Hackers can make money by stealing your passwords, accessing your bank or credit card details, holding your information to ransom, or selling your data to other hackers or on the dark web.

Can you be hacked without knowing? ›

Phone hacking can compromise your identity and privacy without you even knowing. Fraudsters continuously evolve and improve hacking methods, making them increasingly harder to spot. This means the average user might be blind sighted by any number of cyberattacks.

How do I remove my personal information from the Internet? ›

Removing your personal information from the internet
  1. Delete your social media accounts. ...
  2. Close or delete any blogs or personal sites. ...
  3. Remove all unnecessary apps from your phone or tablet. ...
  4. Use a do-not-track feature. ...
  5. Sweep out your computer data. ...
  6. Remove outdated search results.

What are 4 things you should do to keep personal information private? ›

6 Ways to Protect Your Personal Information Online
  • Create strong passwords. ...
  • Don't overshare on social media. ...
  • Use free Wi-Fi with caution. ...
  • Watch out for links and attachments. ...
  • Check to see if the site is secure. ...
  • Consider additional protection.

How can you protect yourself from government surveillance? ›

Let's look at some best practices for keeping data hidden from the government.
7 Ways to Protect Data from Government Spying
  1. Know the Law. ...
  2. Know Your Provider. ...
  3. Keep in Touch. ...
  4. Employ Best Practices. ...
  5. Encrypt Your Data. ...
  6. Use a VPN.


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