Haunted? Or just hacked? Smart TVs could be targeted by hackers

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Do you have a smart TV? It turns out hackers might have access to it, and they can make it do some pretty weird things. 

Imagine you're sitting at home and the TV starts acting strangely. Channels seem to change on their own. The volume increases dramatically. Maybe some inappropriate content pops up. 

This might be kind of scary if you don't know what's going on.  

If this happens to you, know that your electronics aren't haunted. It's likely the work of hackers. 

"Just in general, anything that's connected to the internet, doesn't matter what it is, is hackable," said Ken Colburn with Data Doctors. 

[RELATED: Are smart devices safe to use?]

A new investigation by Consumer Reports showed that it is possible for hackers to get into your smart TV and take control, even from hundreds of miles away. 

But should you be worried? Colburn says no. 

"This is a proof of concept; we haven't actually seen anybody exploiting this," he said.

Even if it did happen, the hackers couldn't do more than prank you. They won't be able to see you or get a hold of any of your personal information.

[RELATED: Why you should stop using passwords!]

[MORE: Data Doctors]

"The reality is it's not really efficient and hackers are smart," Colburn said. "They're not going to waste their time on something like this."

But someone else, other than hackers, might be watching what you watch. 

A year ago, VIZIO was ordered to pay $2.2 million after the Federal Trade Commission says it collected viewing data without consumers' consent. That information, along with customers’ IP addresses, was then sold to advertisers.

[READ MORE: Own one of these smart TVs? FTC says they might be watching you]

In its settlement, VIZIO says it took no "sensitive information" like Social Security numbers, information about children, or precise locations. 

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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