As Christmas and Black Friday/Cyber Monday fast approach, people are preparing to spend more than ever before on internet connected presents for friends and family. But as these products make their way into the hands of the less tech-savvy, an ever-increasing number of hackers are targeting insecure gadgets.
According to the second annual McAfee Most Hackable Holiday Gift List from Intel Security, less than half of those who receive a connected device take the proper measures to secure it. And while 96 percent of people know it’s important to protect against threats, 47 percent don’t know if they’re taking the right precautions.
The survey shows that a high percentage of people are aware of the vulnerabilities in traditional products such as laptops and smartphones, but most “lack awareness about the potential risks associated with emerging connected devices, such as drones (20 percent), children’s toys (15 percent), virtual reality tech (15 percent) and pet gifts (11 percent).”
The report breaks down the five most hackable holiday gifts this year. The most vulnerable presents a person can buy are, unsurprisingly, laptops and PCs, though the guide points out that malicious apps aren’t restricted to Windows-based devices.
Next on the list are smartphones and tablets; 52 percent of people surveyed said they planned to buy one of these items this Christmas. The third most hackable gifts are media players and streaming sticks, followed by the notoriously insecure IoT smart home devices, and finally drones, which could have their GPS signals disrupted or controls hijacked by hackers.
Intel offers some security tips to prevent falling victim to hackers and malicious programs: always use good security software, avoid public Wi-Fi, keep everything up-to-date, use strong passwords, and never click on suspicious links.
While this advice will be obvious to readers, there are plenty of people – many of whom will be receiving tech gifts this year – that haven’t a clue about the dangers connected devices can pose.