Customers buying new devices as holiday gifts know that security is important — but 46 per cent are not sure if they have taken the proper measures to protect it
As our daily life gets more digitised, smart gadgets and devices have become some of the most popular holiday gifts. But a report by Intel Security –the second that the company has ever published on the matter– revealed the most vulnerable of all popular holiday gifts, the user behaviour that might increase the chances of an attack, and what they can do about it.
“Unsurprisingly, connected devices remain high on holiday wish lists this year. What is alarming is that consumers remain unaware of what behaviours pose a security risk when it comes to new devices,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security, in a press statement.
“Consumers are often eager to use their new gadget as soon as they get it and forgo ensuring that their device is properly secured. Cyber criminals 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,” he explained, stressing on a seemingly simple behaviour that may expose customers to risks.
The following are the list of the most hackable gifts of 2016:
1. Laptops and PCs
While laptops and PCs remain the most popular holiday gifts, it also scored the top position for the most hackable gifts. And yes, recent incident proved that the threat is not limited to Windows-based devices.
2. Smartphones and tablets
The survey stated that 64 per cent of customers plan to purchase either a smartphone or tablet this holiday season, emphasizing greater urgency to educate customers on how to protect themselves.
3. Media players and streaming sticks
Failure to constantly update these devices might invite hackers to hang in your living room.
4. Smart Home automation devices and apps
Hackers have demonstrated techniques that could be used to compromise Bluetooth powered door locks and other home automation devices — even your smart coffee machine can be a threat. There have also been evidences on the role that webcams played in recent massive internet outage in the US.
Hackers may hijack drones through its existing smartphone app, or by disrupting the GPS signal.
While the majority of customers are aware of security threats possessed by older devices such as laptops (73 per cent), smartphones (70 per cent), and tablets (69 per cent), a greater awareness need to be pushed towards newer innovations such as drones (20 per cent), children’s toys (21 per cent), virtual reality tech (18 per cent), and pet gifts (11 per cent).
Particularly since 75 per cent of customers are aware of the importance of securing their devices, but a whooping 45 per cent of them remain uncertain if they are taking the proper measures to protect it.
The report stressed on the often overlooked ways to secure devices by:
1. Installing security software
2. Using only a secure Wi-Fi and avoid public Wi-Fi for your devices
3. Keeping the software up-to-date
4. Using a strong password or PIN, and adding multi-factor identification if the device permits it
5. Being wary of suspicious of links
Image Credit: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo
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