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Researchers uncover smart TV security concerns

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TEMPE, AZ (CBS5) -

Your television is getting just as smart as those digital devices you love, but it may also be opening up your home to security concerns.

Smart TVs nowadays are thin, light and becoming more affordable. But some researchers from iSEC Partners have found that with more features, the more you open yourself up to hackers. So the TV you're watching may actually be watching you.

"It's all cool, it's slim, it's a slim LED," said Cecilia Park, who bought a Samsung Smart TV a few weeks ago. "Aesthetically, it looks nice in the living room."

And it's more than just fashionable, it's functional.

"You can go on YouTube, you can do Netflix on it, you can go on YouTube, you can play Angry Birds," Park said.

But iSEC partners discovered the Samsung smart TV can also turn itself into a home surveillance system, and not the kind you want. They were able to hack into the TV and use the camera to watch its owner with no blinking light or other indication it was on or snapping images.

"It's disconcerting to find out, you know, the TV you just bought can spy on you, and you don't even know it's happening," Park said.

"Anything you connect to the internet can be hacked," said Ken Colburn with the Data Doctors. He said hackers are looking to launch viruses and steal personal information. And the most vulnerable are the ones with zero security features or software.

A lot of people think putting tape over the webcam can solve the problem, but Colburn that's really only putting a bandage on it.

"Having firewalls, making sure you have good security systems around the system itself, what's called the router, having passwords," Colburn said. He also said you should not open up questionable emails or visit questionable websites and only open links from sources you trust.

Samsung told CBS News they've released a software update to fix the issue.

Park said she's happy with her TV and will be even happier with that software update.

"If there's a software I could buy, I'll be the first one to buy that software to stop them from invading my privacy," Park said.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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