Was Christmas a bit of a gadget overload in your house? It definitely was here – in fact, most Christmases and birthdays are now. This year, Gemma had a laptop, Jacob got a phone and even Eliza got in on the technological gifting, receiving a Kindle Fire kids tablet.
The latest research from McAfee revealed that 45% of people were planning to buy the latest gadgets for Christmas this year, putting tech at the top of Brits’ Christmas shopping lists. 22% of people said they planned to buy connected toys this festive period, a 7% increase on last year. However, less than a third of parents (31%) are currently speaking to their kids about what they do online. Which is scary, isn’t it?
With children growing up in a world of connected things, they are digital natives but how security savvy are they? McAfee spoke to some children about their online activity, and asked parents to probe them about what they are getting up to online.
It seems that one of the biggest gateways to danger is online gaming; and lets face it, that’s what most children are doing on their devices. The platforms they are using open them up to malware, viruses and the risk of engaging with strangers online. Only 40% of British parents monitor their children when using connected devices and one in 5 parents (21%) are not worried about their children potentially speaking to a social predator or cybercriminal online. I have to admit, I don’t always monitor what the older ones are doing online as much as I should. I am guilty of leaving them to play Roblox while I get the dinner ready, and the potential risks don’t always cross my mind. However, we have had a chat about never sharing personal information online, and I know the school have reinforced this too.
So how can we all use our gadgets more wisely? To help keep your family safe, McAfee has the following tips:
Think before you click.
One of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to compromise your device is through a malicious link. Be skeptical if you receive a link or other solicitation that you are not expecting.
Update your software.
Whether it’s your PC, smartphone, digital assistant or even your drone, keep the software up to date. Manufacturers plug security holes with device updates so it’s important to always install the latest versions as soon as possible. Where applicable use up-to-date security software.
Beware of shady public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Cybercriminals often deploy fake Wi-Fi hotspots that appear to be legitimate, but give them visibility into your browsing habits. If you have to use public Wi-Fi refrain from online shopping or banking. If you need to shop or bank on public Wi-Fi use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), like McAfee Safe Connect, to encrypt your network traffic.
Do your homework.
Not all manufacturers take security seriously, especially when it comes to connected toys, so it’s important to research if there have been any reported security vulnerabilities before purchasing.
Protect your home network.
Secure all of your connected devices and your home internet at its source with McAfee Secure Home Platform. This solution gives you insight into what devices are on your network, and protects all of your connected devices.