Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Less Than Half of Australians Take the Proper Security Measures to Protect Their New Gadgets:

Media Streaming Devices, Drones and Smart Home Products Join the List of Devices that Can Compromise Consumers’ Security if Left Unprotected
By Media Release
Date: November 24 2016
Editor Rating:
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Today Intel Security announced its second-annual McAfee Most Hackable Christmas Gifts list to identify potential security risks associated with hot-ticket items this holiday season. The No. 1 most hackable gift category included laptops and PCs, followed by smartphones and tablets, media players and streaming sticks, smart home automation and devices, and finally, drones. To accompany the list, Intel Security conducted a survey to identify the risky behaviours Australians are engaging in during the Christmas period and educate them on how to protect themselves.

Today’s digital world is changing fast, and our reliance on the internet is ever increasing. The recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack (America) was carried out by a botnet made up of unsecured webcams and other internet of things (IoT) devices, and crippled many popular websites connected to the Dyn domain. It’s important that consumers understand they can help fight these attacks by ensuring their devices are updated and patched, which helps mitigate risks from the latest threats.

“It’s not surprising to learn that connected devices remain high on Christmas wish lists this year, with smartphones and tablets topping the list. However, what is surprising is the number of Australians who aren’t sure whether they’re putting the appropriate measures in place to protect their devices,” said Andrew Hurren, Regional Solution Architect at Intel Security ANZ. “Just as consumers are eager to use their devices as soon as they can, cybercriminals are even keener to use this lack of attention to security to their advantage, and swiftly gather personal consumer data. This could expose consumers to malware or identity theft or even use unsecured devices to launch DDoS attacks as in the recent Dyn attack,” Hurren continued.

While a majority of Aussies are aware of the vulnerabilities in older connected devices like laptops (74%), mobile phones (69%) and tablets (64%), they lack awareness about the potential risks associated with emerging connected devices, such as drones (18%), children’s toys (13%), virtual reality tech (15%), and pet gifts (10%). As technology continues to evolve, it is essential that Australians understand the risks associated with even the most unassuming devices. While 78% of consumers believe it’s very important to secure their online identities and connected devices, nearly half are uncertain if they are taking the proper security steps.

This year’s Most Hackable Christmas Gifts:

To create the list of Most Hackable Christmas Gifts, Intel Security analysed the list of popular devices for a range of factors including accessibility, communication security, target value (whether these devices have access to information that would be valuable to a cyber criminal), activity (whether the hacking community is actively researching how to exploit these devices), and whether there are any active exploits roaming the internet looking for these devices.

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

Survey results revealed that 65% of consumers plan to purchase either a smartphone or tablet this holiday season. Just like PCs and laptops, malware could result in personal and financial information being stolen.

3. Media Streaming Devices

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. Smart Home Automation Devices and Apps

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.

5. Drones

Drone sales are expected to grow to more than US$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.

Tips for Aussies to Protect Christmas Cheer:

To stay protected for a happier and safer Christmas cyberseason, Intel Security has the following tips:

  • Secure your device before you start using it. Your laptop, smartphone or tablet are the keys to controlling your home and your personal information. Make sure you have comprehensive security software installed, like McAfee® Total Protection.
  • 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. Never allow your home devices to be directly exposed to the internet.
  • Keep software 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.
  • Configure a strong password or PIN. Don’t use default passwords. 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 your browser.
  • Do your research. Purchase devices that come with proper administration and management. Devices should possess the necessary processes to determine if something is wrong, communicate such events to their owners, and provide options to resolve issues.

Survey Methodology

The research was conducted online during September 2016 by OnePoll through a sample of over 1,000 Australian residents (aged 18-55+) who use internet-enabled devices on a daily basis.

About Intel Security

Intel Security, with its McAfee product line, is dedicated to making the digital world safer and more secure for everyone. Intel Security is a division of Intel Corporation. Learn more at www.intelsecurity.com.

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