The hottest gifts this year include must-have tech gadgets but...

The hottest gifts this year include must-have tech gadgets but buyers beware; the potential risk of unknowingly releasing personal and financial information is on the rise. Credit: Walmart

The holiday season is finally here, and the hottest gifts this year include must-have tech products that will be on everyone’s wish list. Although these products offer an array of engaging elements, the potential risk of unknowingly releasing personal and financial information and inviting cybercriminals into our homes is on the rise. So Intel Security released their second annual McAfee Most Hackable Holiday Gifts list and ways consumers can protect their new gadgets from potential harm.

This year’s most hackable holiday gifts, according to Intel Security:

1. Laptops and PCs. Some apps target various computer systems with malware that is not just limited to Windows-based devices.

2. Smartphones and tablets. Fifty-two percent of consumers plan to purchase a smartphone or tablet this holiday season--but users beware: Malware not only affects PCs but smartphones and tablets as well, resulting in stolen personal and financial information.

3. Media players and streaming sticks. Failing to update streaming devices can unknowingly result in the release of information to cybercriminals.

4. Smart home automation devices and app. Users are now able to control tasks like locking doors, starting the car and opening the garage door remotely via mobile apps. Hackers have been known to manipulate Bluetooth-enabled devices to access smart home automation.

5. Drones. If users do not properly secure their devices, hackers can disrupt GPS signals or steal drones using smartphone apps.

According to the survey, 96 percent of consumers say the security of their device is somewhat important, but less than half take the proper security measures to protect their products. In fact, 47 percent of these consumers do not know if they are taking the right precautions in order to keep their personal information secure. Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security warned, “Consumers are often eager to use their new gadget as soon as they get it and forgo ensuring that their device is properly secured. Cybercriminals could use this lack of attention as an inroad to gather personal consumer data, exposing consumers to malware or identity theft or even use unsecured devices to launch DDoS attacks as in the recent Dyn attack.”

In order to protect ourselves, homes and products, Intel Security suggests the following tips for a safe holiday season: secure your device, only use reliable Wi-Fi, keep software up-to-date, use a strong password or PIN and to be wary of links sent by individuals you may not know or websites that seem unfamiliar. 


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