A recently-published consumer guide identifies the potential security risks associated with the hottest gift items this holiday season.
Intel Security’s second annual Most Hackable Holiday Gifts lists laptops and PCs as the most vulnerable, followed by smartphones and tablets, media players and streaming sticks, smart home automation and devices, as well as drones and UAVs.
To accompany the list, Intel Security conducted a survey to identify the risky behaviours consumers are engaging in during the holiday season and educate them on how to protect themselves.
“Unsurprisingly, connected devices remain high on holiday wish lists this year. What is alarming is that consumers remain unaware of what behaviors pose a security risk when it comes to new devices,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security.
“Consumers are often eager to use their new gadget as soon as they get it and forgo ensuring that their device is properly secured. Cybercriminals could use this lack of attention as an inroad to gather personal consumer data, exposing consumers to malware or identity theft or even use unsecured devices to launch DDoS attacks as in the recent Dyn attack.”
While a majority of consumers are aware of the vulnerabilities in older connected devices like laptops (76%), mobile phones (70%) and tablets (69%), they lack awareness about the potential risks associated with emerging connected devices, such as drones (20%), children’s toys (15%), virtual reality tech (15%) and pet gifts (11%). As technology continues to evolve, it is essential consumers understand the risks associated with even the most unassuming devices. While 81% of consumers believe it’s very important to secure their online identities and connected devices, nearly half are uncertain if they are taking the proper security steps.
Protect Your Holiday Cheer
Intel Security offers the following tips to help you stay safer this holiday season:
- Secure your device. Your device is the key to controlling your home and your personal information. Make sure you have comprehensive security software installed, like McAfee LiveSafe™.
- Only use secure Wi-Fi. Using your devices, such as your smart home applications, on public Wi-Fi could leave you and your home open to risk.
- Keep software up-to-date. Apply patches as they are released from the manufacturer. Install manufacturer updates right away to ensure that your device is protected from the latest known threats.
- Use a strong password or PIN. If your device supports it, use multi-factor authentication (MFA), as it can include factors like a trusted device, your face, fingerprint, etc. to make your login more secure.
- Check before you click. Be suspicious of links from people you do not know and always use internet security software to stay protected. Hover over the link to find a full URL of the link’s destination in the lower corner of your browser.
Intel Security surveyed 9,800 consumers (aged 18-55+). Respondents were individuals who use an internet-enabled device on a daily basis in the following countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.