This year, tablets and smartphones are likely to be at the top of many holiday wish lists, but excited consumers should think twice before immediately loading personal data, contact information, photos and applications to their new devices. Typically, these devices come completely unprotected and can be vulnerable to online risks designed to steal personal information. As such, McAfee is advising consumers to live their digital life more confidently by issuing tips to help consumers secure these devices.
Cybercriminals continue to widen their nets to target even more devices and platforms as new devices come on the market and gain popularity. McAfee Labs TM reports that smishing (or phishing text messages), PC, Mac, and mobile device malware, and malicious mobile websites are on the rise. These increases complement Android’s hyper-growth and give it the distinction of being the most targeted operating system for mobile threats. Wireless devices also present the risk of being hijacked by hackers when used over public Wi-Fi when networks are not secure.
Additionally, children are acquiring more gaming and entertainment devices than ever, including iPads, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, all of which are Internet-connected. Aside from the malware susceptibility, children can also put their parents at risk by downloading hundreds of dollars’ worth of apps while playing their favorite games and inadvertently charging their parents accounts simply by entering device passwords.
“This holiday season will further contribute to the trend of consumers having three or more devices to meet their online lifestyle needs,” said Gary Davis, vice president of global consumer marketing at McAfee. “With the increased amount of devices per person and household, comes the increased chance of cybercriminals gaining access and stealing personal information and data. Consumers deserve to have confidence that they can live their digital lives sharing any information, from anywhere and on any device without the risk of an attack or scam. The best way to ensure this is to take the time to secure their personal data as soon as they open their new tech gifts.”