Intel Security reveals over a third of Brits are planning to gift an internet-connected device this Christmas, despite UK consumers already owning an average of four connected devices*. Smartphones and tablets come top of the list, with 42% planning to upgrade their friend’s and family’s gadgets to the latest models.
Intel Security also found the top two most popular gifts this year are the two most easily and frequently hacked, and typically hold the highest level of valuable data: smartphones / tablets and laptops. Nearly two-thirds (60%) saying they will do so without ensuring security software is installed.
Gifts Brits are purchasing this Christmas:
1) Smartphone / tablet
2) Laptops and PCs
3) Media Players and Streaming Sticks
4) Smart TVs
5) Home device such as Bluetooth speakers, connected thermostats, etc.
Intel Security’s most hackable gifts this Christmas**:
1) Laptops and PCs
- Laptops and PCs make great gifts, however, malicious apps targeting PCs are unfortunately common, and are not just limited to Windows-based devices
2) Smartphones and Tablets
- 64% of consumers plan to purchase either a smartphone or tablet this Christmas. Just like PCs and laptops, malware could result in personal and financial information being stolen
3) 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
4) Home Automation Devices
- Today’s 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
- 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
Out with the old, in with the new
Two-fifths (40%) of UK consumers plan to make a quick buck from their old devices by selling on to new users. However, almost half (45%) are unsure about how to wipe their old devices of personal information and only a third (34%) of second-hand gadget buyers think to reset the device to factory settings. This means there’s a high chance that personal data will be passed on to new owners, running the risk of it falling into the wrong hands.
Intel Security also found that over two-thirds (68%) of Brits believe it is very important for their online identity to be kept safe, yet more than half (52%) are unsure whether their devices are secure.
“An underlying issue is that consumers simply don’t know which products need protecting. A fifth of those we surveyed said this was the reason for them leaving connected devices unprotected. All connected devices, whether old or new need to be protected to ensure personal information is safe from prying eyes,” comments Nick Viney, VP Consumer, Intel Security.
Keeping kids safe
It’s not just over-18s at risk this Christmas; 15% of those surveyed said they were planning to buy connected devices for children this year. Despite devices such as tablets becoming a go-to toy and entertainment centre for children, only 13% of Brits recognise the importance of securing children’s connected devices.
Although financial data breaches, for example, are not such a threat for children, they are increasingly becoming exposed to the dark side of the internet, such as cyber bullying. In combination with a lack of awareness around the need for security in children’s tech, Intel Security found that 60% of children aged between 5-12 years old are left unsupervised the whole time they are using the Internet.
“Teaching children best practices for safe online behaviour right from the start will be invaluable to them as they grow up. The responsibility lies with parents, teachers and technology experts to ensure children understand how to protect themselves from the potential risks online. With more kids than ever before connected to the internet, greater education about responsible internet use and watertight security are vital to keeping children safe,” continued Nick Viney.
Tips for Consumers to Protect Holiday Cheer
To stay protected for a happier and safer holiday season, Intel Security has the following tips:
- 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 is 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 their browser.