It’s a constant worry in a digital age, isn’t it? That unseen threat of the dreaded hacker… my bank was ‘got at’ a couple of months ago, thanks to trojan software on my (what I thought was protected) Mac, and it’s a horrible feeling.
We’re so intrinsically linked to our digital devices now that the emotional impact is no different to when a burglar actually steps inside your home – you feel that your personal space has been violated. And then of course there’s the physical fallout of your details being used by someone else to go on a shopping spree…
As we approach Christmas an awful lot of us will either have a tablet or phone on our wishlists, or we’ll be buying them for someone else – recent research by Intel Security says that tablets are the most popular gift Brits hope to receive, with a quarter wishing to receive one on 25th December. Interestingly it’s not the young begging for the tech though – 37% of 65+ year old’s are hoping for a tablet this Christmas – and I suspect it’s us middle-generation-ers that are buying them for our parents this year!
And actually, the risk is not just the obvious tablet and phone, either – I was pretty shocked at Intel’s list of the most hackable gifts this Christmas:
- Smartphones and Tablets
- Drones and Camera-enabled Devices
- Children’s Gadgets
- Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers
I know! I wouldn’t even think about drones being hacked, nor fitness trackers. Security experts say the vulnerabilities of “Internet of Things” devices such as fitness bands, smartwatches, drones and connected appliances could be exploited as we all begin using new products over Christmas. There’s a really interesting article on it over on Fin24.
So here’s the best advice from Intel Security on how to make sure your Christmas isn’t ruined by cyber-grinches;
Tips for protecting yourself this Christmas:
People may think they aren’t at risk of hackers breaking into such gadgets like a smartwatch or child’s gadget, but the reality is that hackers can install malware on a computer that the device connects to, getting into a user’s mobile device which houses personal data.
- Bluetooth beware: Smart gadgets are often controlled by a Bluetooth connection via a smartphone. Many devices have a Bluetooth pairing password with a default of 0000 or 1234, allowing attackers to pair with them and take control. When Bluetooth is not needed, switch it off.
- Cover all bases: Many smart gifts are controlled by other devices, be that a smartphone or a tablet. Protecting all these devices means that all doors to hackers are closed. Protect devices by pairing a comprehensive security solution with regular device updates.
- Protect your personal data: Making sure operating systems are up to update with the latest versions and not downloading apps from an untrusted source, are other ways you can keep cybercriminals at bay this Christmas. Sometimes it takes a long time for an operating system to be patched for a new vulnerability therefore it is important to install a cross device security service such McAfee LiveSafe™ that can protect all devices, data and identities.
- Check your passwords: You can see just how easy your password is to crack here – do try it, it’s a little alarming! Make them safe by making them longer – a great tip I saw recently suggested that the most secure password could be the line of a song. You don’t necessarily need complicated combinations of numbers and letters, just a good long lyric that’s easy to remember can be the most secure.
Or try the free True Key app to help eliminate your need for password altogether, and keep everything completely secure. It’s weirdly futuristic, but it really does sign you in by checking your face…