How To Tell If Your Smart TV Has Been Hacked? 5 Signs of Unseen Dangers

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What To Know

  • A power LED indicator remaining blue when the TV is “off” suggests a potential hack, particularly the Weeping Angel hack which can activate the TV’s microphone and camera.
  • Unexplained changes in volume or settings, or the appearance of microphone/camera icons, indicate that the TV might be controlled remotely by a hacker.
  • Unexpected apps, files, account activities (like altered viewing history), and being locked out of streaming accounts on your smart TV are strong indications of hacking, warranting immediate security actions.

While smart TVs have lots of advantages, they also have one significant disadvantage: they can be hacked.

You’ve been noticing some unusual activity on your smart TV, and you’ve started wondering: has it been hacked? And if it has, how can you tell?

Keep reading to find out!

1. Your TV Has a Fake Off Mode

Normally, when you turn your TV off all of its functions should shut down, placing it in standby mode.

However, the CIA and British intelligence allegedly installed a hack into Samsung TVs in 2012 and 2013.

This hack is called the Weeping Angel and is thought to be named after the infamous Doctor Who characters who look like statues, but will attack you as soon as you’ve turned your back. If you’re a Doctor Who fan like me, you know that this is one of the deadliest species in the Whoniverse (Doctor Who universe).

When installed, this hack turns off your TV’s backlights, making the TV appear off. In reality, your TV is still functioning, giving the hackers access to your TV’s microphone and camera.

a TV is controlled by hackers

The hackers can then record videos and audio of the smart TV’s unsuspecting owner, catching them in humiliating positions and collecting confidential data.

If the smart TV owner is of interest to the state, this data could be used to collect evidence against them.

However, this hack is also used to attack regular civilians. If the hackers record anything particularly embarrassing, they will then send it to you and demand ransom for them not to release it.

It should come as no surprise that women are often the victims of these crimes. In some cases, these pictures and videos may even be uploaded to adult-only websites where the hacker can charge others to watch them.

A good way to know if someone has installed the Weeping Angel hack on your TV is to check if its power LED indicator light remains blue even when the TV is “off.” If it does, then your TV may have been hacked and it’s a good idea to cover your cameras and take the appropriate cybersecurity measures.

2. The TV Is Seemingly Functioning By Itself

Your TV should only respond to your commands, but lately, it seems to have a mind of its own. The volume may suddenly raise or lower while you’re watching a movie, even though you haven’t even touched the remote.

One Reddit user shared their experience of this happening, as the TV was responding to the hacker’s commands before the hacker eventually made themselves known by saying their name and laughing.

In addition to your TV’s volume changing, you may also notice that the settings are randomly changing or see the microphone or camera icons popping up out of nowhere.

microphone icon pops up on a TV screen

Since these icons only appear when in use, this is a good indication that a hacker has taken control of your TV and is listening to or watching you through its microphone or camera.

If the hacker does happen to make themselves known by speaking to you, immediately unplug your TV from power since the hacker cannot access your TV when it’s not connected to power.

Then, consult a cybersecurity technician for the next steps.

3. New Apps and Files Appear Out of Nowhere

You’re browsing your smart TV home screen when you see an unfamiliar app. You know you didn’t install it, so how did it get there?

Then, you head to your TV’s file manager and find several video and audio files that you’re certain you didn’t download.

man sees strange files on his TV

What is happening?

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. These recordings may appear in your file manager. So, clicking on them could very well produce videos of you going about your daily life in the privacy of your own home.

That said, you should avoid opening any unknown files you find, as they could contain malware.

4. Unusual App Activity

You’ve never watched an episode of Game of Thrones in your life, but your HBO Max app shows you’ve been binge-watching it. You ask your partner and they confirm they also haven’t been watching it.

It’s not uncommon for hackers to hack smart TVs so that they can use your account to watch certain shows. In some cases, the hackers may even sell your account information to people who want to watch subscription-based platforms without paying the monthly fee.

a girl see strange movies on her TV

Additionally, some smart TV models monitor each app’s usage, recording when you’ve used them and for how long.

Heading to these settings will reveal if someone else has been actively using your smart TV’s apps. You may notice that some apps you never use have unusually high usage times. You may also see some apps you don’t recognize and didn’t install yourself.

If this is the case, then your smart TV has probably been hacked.

5. You’ve Been Locked Out of Your Accounts

You open your smart TV’s Netflix app only to be confronted with the login page. Confused, you enter your login details but are met with an error message.

hand holding a remote towards a TV with Netflix logo on

Hackers frequently lock people out of their accounts once they’ve been hacked, changing the password and possibly even the email.

This allows them to take full control of your account and stops you from changing the password or closing your account. Now, they can find and use your credit card details, and even offer to sell your account back to you.

If you’re using a popular streaming app, we recommend contacting their customer service and informing them you’ve been hacked. Explain the situation and ask what they can do to help recover your account.

You may have to close the account entirely and open a new one.

It’s also a good idea to check your bank transactions if you’re worried that the hacker may be committing credit card fraud.

Remember, if the hacker has gained access to your accounts on one of your smart TV apps, they may have gained access to the other apps’ accounts as well. So, change your passwords and do a security sweep to ensure the hacker cannot access any more of your information, and your TV’s camera and microphone.

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  1. My television and phone are being hacked and it’s been going on for almost two years and I don’t know what to do or who to contact I do know that it’s being done by a neighbor I don’t know why I even moved and she’s still doing it she’s also her and her family have been actively stalking me as I said I moved and they followed please help there are also other things that she’ been doing I need help with this I’m afraid that she’s never going to leave me alone I to know what to. Last year I tried talking to the police about my phone but at the time I wasn’t sure but I strongly suspected that my television had been hacked as well but now I know for sure and not just because she’s still doing it.

  2. Hacker has set passcodes to all my smart TV’s and set them up so they can monitor what is watched and on my TV they took all the channels out of it so I can’t watch anything.
    They had access to my cox modem or my router at one time. I replaced both modem and router. I had someone on there device setup my new modem and router. This way the new passwords are not on any of my devices. This had them post off for a while, they would only show me the option to log on to the internet for my cox modem or try and get me to in hide my router and login through the admin. I had guest mode internet access setup and that was all they were going to get. But that did vary little. They still control how I use the internet on all laptops and phones. I’m going on my 4th year of being hacked. I’ve purchased 33 phones, 6 laptops and 3 macs. I can’t use most of them anymore
    Here is who I think is doing the hacking. It’s someone who code for apple in there accessibility department / area. They can access and modify any software that has accessibility features on a device. Witch most devices do.
    Here are just a few Example:
    Example number 1:
    After they trash my device / devices, I would do a factory reset on my device go through the motion and look like it did it, but if you look at the log file it will show that it couldn’t erase the data. (They modified the software code so it won’t erase the data).
    example number 2:
    Device setup wizard has been modified, when it loads my google account or when I create a google account loads. It’s hacked, then they sync. I get a modified version of my google account. My security features are missing.
    A while back they took my bio’s: finger prints, face and voice recognition. They used smart switch and took my google account. When I try and create another google account I get a google email account that they sync with my original google account. Which is modified, gives the 100% access. If I do anything, like take picture or creat a new note I can only save it in a directory that they choose, they get a copy and delete the original file.
    Example number 3:
    In the developers feature at the bottom there a note that says “this user get nothing”. They setup experimental feature on my devices witch tracks my every movement,
    Example number 4:
    I have an administrator now. I’ve been singed up for some kind of work shop. (I’ve tried to log on to it. I keep get a message that the server is down. Try again later.
    I can’t get any app form the google / apple store. I’m told that I need my account admin. approval to get apps. Most apps are linked to my device / devices and modified. The updated and modified and updated every day.
    I’ve got a lot of examples these our the ones that are doing some of the damage. The latest know are the Smart TV’s.

    Note: by signing me up for a work program Google Microsoft and Apple give my rights and what I can do on my devices to this or these hackers / people. There allowed to do what ever they want to me and my devices by giving them access to my device / devices
    David Feldman,

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