If you’re Christmas shopping for digital devices or toys, make sure you choose ones which will keep you and your family secure.
Unlike Santa, cyber criminals don’t care whether you’ve been naughty or nice, so make sure your new devices can’t easily be hacked.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued the following top tips to stay secure:
- Research the products and read reviews to make sure you’re not buying something with poor security.
- Only use secure sites when shopping online. They usually carry the padlock symbol. Get Safe Online has advice on how to protect yourself.
- Don’t wait until Christmas Day, when excited children will want to just turn on a new toy or device and skip as much of the set-up process as they can. Take the time beforehand to read the manual and familiarise yourself with the security and privacy options available to you.
- You should always change the default passwords and usernames on your new device immediately and choose a suitably strong password. Use a different password for each device.
- If you have devices connected to the internet, make sure your router is secure. Create a strong password and look out for – and install – security updates. If you have the option of using two-step security authentication for security, use it.
- Some toys and devices are fitted with web cameras. If you have no intention of viewing footage over the internet, switch off the remote viewing option or use strong non-default passwords.
- One of the main selling points of children’s smart watches is the ability for parents to know where their children are at all times. However, if this isn’t done securely, then others might have access to this data as well. Immediately get rid of default location tracking and GPS settings and set strong, unique passwords.
- Some toys and devices have been found to have unencrypted WiFi connections or unsecured Bluetooth connections which can be easily accessed by strangers. If there is no option to secure these in the device’s settings, consider whether using the device is worth the risk. If there is an option to protect them with either a password or a PIN ensure you choose a strong one.
- If you aren’t convinced a smart toy or connected device will keep your children’s personal information safe, don’t buy it.
- If you’ve purchased a device that you’ve since discovered is insecure, complain to the manufacturer or retailer and see if you can return it.