Security is probably not your first priority at Christmas, but it’s when you and your loved ones might be most vulnerable to cyber-attacks. If you want to have a Smart and Safe Christmas, then read on. Your Christmas to-do list is almost done, but something just doesn’t feel right. The old TV in the living room is just not good enough for movies like Frozen or the classics such as Home Alone.
You admit that It’s time to let it go, let it go and you can’t hold back anymore. You spend a couple of hours browsing to see what offers are out there. A search on Google recommends a Smart TV with all the apps and features that come with a big brand’s TV. It even comes with a built-in camera, so you can make Skype calls. It’s not a brand you’ve heard off but seeing as you don’t have a huge budget, you think it should do the job. You manage to find the same model in electronics store a little cheaper, so you stop by to collect it. After setting it up, you are impressed with the picture quality and sound. You’re excited to show it off and see the look on everyone’s faces when they see it.
Did you know?
Some smart items carry a whole host of problems, vulnerabilities and security issues. They can be leveraged to access your entire network and gain access to other devices within your house.
What can go wrong?
Hackers can take control of your TV, change channels, play unpleasant content, turn on the camera and the mic, see your reaction and even talk to you. No-one wants a distraction like that when your settling down for a nice meal.
How can you avoid this?
If you want to watch Harry and Marv get the treatment they deserve in peace, then follow these simple steps:
Do your homework - research the brands and read the reviews (some reviews can be fake so try independent review sites such as Which?)
Update your firmware and install updates immediately after unboxing
If something doesn’t need an internet connection, don’t connect it to your Wi-Fi
If you are not using cameras / mics, where possible cover them up using some tape and disable them in the device settings
Don’t offer your data (name, DOB, email) when you can usually cancel out of these set up wizards.
There are a couple of articles which showcase how dangerous some of the devices can be but we think you might like this one on Amazon Echo and Google Mini being taken over.
So, whether it’s a new TV or a smart watch, fancy doorbell or a cooker with a built-in camera, we advise you to follow the 5 steps above and enjoy your new gadgets safely.
I work in Information Security and Security Risk Management, I love improving peoples knowledge around security and safe practices online. I'm always sharing tips to protect against security threats that we face in our every day lives.