“Unsurprisingly, connected devices remain high on holiday wish lists this year,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security. “What is alarming is that consumers remain unaware of what behaviours pose a security risk when it comes to new devices.”
Intel Security recently released it second-annual McAfee Most Hackable Holiday Gifts list to identify potential security risks associated with hot-ticket items this holiday season. The company also released its findings on consumer behavior towards security and electronics.
Intel found that while 89 per cent of Canadians start using connected devices within the first days of receiving it, only 44 per cent said they take proper security measures.
“Consumers are often eager to use their new gadget as soon as they get it and forgo ensuring that their device is properly secured,” said Davis. “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.”
Davis was referring to the recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack was carried out by a botnet made up of unsecured webcams and other internet of things (IoT) devices, and crippled many popular websites connected to the Dyn domain.
According to the McAfee survey, this year’s most hackable holiday gifts include:
- Laptops and PCs-Laptops and PCs are the most popular targets of malicious apps. The attacks are not limited to Windows-based devices.
- Smartphones and tablets-Survey results revealed that 61 per cent of consumers plans to purchase either a smartphone or tablet this holiday season. Just like PCs and laptops, malware could result in personal and financial information being stolen.
- Media Players and streaming sticks- Media players and streaming sticks have changed the way consumers enjoy movies and TV, but consumers can unknowingly invite a cybercriminal into their living room by failing to update their device.
- Smart home and automated devices and apps- Connected home devices and apps give users the power to control their homes from their smartphone. Unfortunately, hackers have demonstrated techniques that could be used to compromise Bluetooth-powered door locks and other home automation devices.
- Drones- Drone sales are expected to grow to more than $20 billion by 2022. They can provide unique perspectives when it comes to shooting video and photos. However, not properly securing the device could allow hackers to disrupt the GPS signal, or hijack your drone through its smartphone app.
As many as 73 per cent of Canadians are actually aware of the vulnerabilities in older connected devices like laptops (73 per cent), tablets (66 per cent) and mobile phones (62 per cent), according to Intel.
However, people” lack awareness about the potential risks associated with emerging connected devices,” such as drones (15 per cent), children’s toys (15 per cent), virtual reality tech (15 per cent), fitness trackers (13 per cent) and pet gifts (10 per cent).
Intel provided these tips on how consumers can use their devices safely:
- Secure your device. Your device is the key to controlling your home and your personal information. Make sure you have comprehensive security software installed. Intel said you could checkout something 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. 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 their browser.
“…Canadians need to be aware that connected devices that aren’t properly secured can expose important personal and financial information,” said Brenda Moretto, Canadian consumer manager with Intel Security.
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