With the holiday season upon us, many people are scrambling to do some last-minute gift shopping. Demand for high-tech gifts is high, and computers, tablets, and other electronics are flying off the shelves.
Although these gifts can light up someone’s face and bring great joy, it’s possible that these gifts could also put the recipient at risk.
Just recently, the largest DDoS attack took place, affecting more than 150,000 smart devices worldwide. Refrigerators, cameras, printers, and more were all affected. Although these devices may not seem useful or filled with sensitive information, they certainly can be.
With electronics and smart devices in high demand this time of year, one must be careful enough to make sure that the user isn’t subject to a destructive hack.
Intel’s McAfee Most Hackable Gifts survey identified that 81% or respondents are concerned with cyber security threats, but 47% are not sure if they are taking the proper security measures.
Internet hacks have risen by 23% since 2013, and will only continue to rise — especially around the holidays. This season, remind yourself and loved ones about the risks and repercussions of insecure Internet connections and give gifts with that idea in mind.
Here are the most hackable gifts this holiday season, according to the survey by Intel:
Laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones top the list. Designed for Internet accessibility, these devices are inherently vulnerable to hacks. But they are easy to secure with the proper care. Setting up additional authentication systems and password protection services can secure your online accounts and prevent hackers from obtaining personal and sensitive information.
2. Media Players and Streaming Sticks
Devices like the Amazon Firestick and Apple TV are becoming increasingly popular. As cable television becomes less common, many households use these plug-ins to stream movies and television shows. But although there are no screens on the devices themselves, they do connect to your Wifi and are easily accessible by hackers.
Even if you’re in the middle of a show, it’s important to abide by and download new security updates on these devices. If possible, you should also protect your system with a complex password to prevent entry.
3. Smart Home Devices and Applications
The Internet of Things never stops expanding. Not only do we use the Internet on our computers and electronic devices, but we are now using it to control our lights, home security systems, blinds, and more.
Automated devices like the Google Home line or Amazon’s Alexa are hugely popular this season, and can control just about any connected device in your home through voice command. While this is very convenient for the intended user, if hacked, your home may be at immediate risk of being broken into.
Since these devices are still so new, their security systems are often not very advanced. Some gadgets don’t have any security systems enabled at all.
The Internet of Things is the wild west of electronic devices, and without much research on these products, sometimes it’s tough to determine their safety capabilities until it’s too late.
Some of the hottest gifts on the market, drones are able to capture incredible overhead video and photographs that give humans entirely new perspectives. They are often used by photographers, but also have more practical uses, like viewing hard-to-see areas when cleaning the gutters or inspecting a roof.
This season, while you may be on the hunt for the latest and greatest hot-ticket electronic devices, be sure to do your research and stay on top of recent consumer and online threats.