Christmas Tech Gift Security Basics
Christmas is a great time to give tech gifts! And, it’s also a great time to receive tech gifts. Yippee! Who doesn’t love unwrapping a present and finding an awesome gift that will make your life easier or more enjoyable. But, have you considered the security basics that you need to implement to safely use that tech gift without compromising your privacy? Securing your tech Christmas gift should be on the top of your to do list!
Tech Gift Security Basics to Protect Your Privacy:
- Read the tech gift’s instructions carefully! It takes some time, and it’s usually boring, but it’s important to understand how the tech device works, its security features, the information that may be collected, etc.
- Register your device with the manufacturer (or reseller as applicable). Be sure to include your email address with the registration. If security issues are discovered, a recall is issued, an update is available, you will want to receive these notifications. Registering your new tech gift helps with this process. A word to the wise . . you may want to create a special email address that you routinely check for these types of registrations and notices so your main email address is not inundated with this type of email. And, in the event that there is an unauthorized release of email addresses on the manufacturer’s end, your primary email won’t be among the exposed info.
- Use a unique password for the registration in 2. above and for the device if it requires one/allows you to add one. Reuse of passwords puts your accounts at risk. Don’t reuse passwords!
- If the new device connects to Wi-Fi, there are a few things you need to consider before connecting it to your network. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s recommendations. If your network is currently set to the factory preset SSID and password, you should change these ASAP before connecting your new tech gift to your network. And, if you haven’t changed your SSID and/or password in a while, we would recommend that you change them now. Lastly, if you are concerned about the security issues the new tech gift may introduce on your network, you may want to create a Guest network/segmented network and connect that new tech gift to this network.
- Even if the manufacturer’s instructions don’t include updating the software and/or the device’s app, do it. The software and/or app update may be accessible on the manufacture’s website, from the app store, Google play store or a third party site. The latest updates typically include security upgrades, bug fixes, new features, etc. that you’ll want. It’s just safer and generally best security practice to keep your tech device updated.
- Visit the tech support page for the device to see the privacy and security issues other users have posted on or inquired about. You can also search the Internet for tech blog posts about security and privacy issues with that new tech gift so you can implement measures to avoid unexpected privacy issues.
- If the tech device has an app and collects audio/video, be sure any connected phone/tablet/computer you use with the device or that is synched with it has a screen password, two factor authentication and/or facial recognition. If you lose the connected phone/tablet/computer, someone accesses it without authorization, and it doesn’t have a password/facial recognition, then those stored audio/video files may be accessible by anyone who has access to your phone/tablet/computer.
- Set the lock screen on the connected phone/tablet/computer and any synched devices. Don’t use easy to guess lock screen passwords or pins, and don’t reuse the passwords or pins on multiple devices or accounts. Just don’t do it!
- If you the tech gift allows you to add users or share your information, be careful who you add and the privileges you grant them. It’s harder to revoke that access or privileges than never to authorize it.
- And, if the tech gift that you have added users to will be connected to an iTunes or similar type of account, be sure to set up a new iTunes account with new email and password for the tech device so the added users can’t access your main/primary iTunes or similar account.
You can also visit our blog NEW IOT DEVICES POSE SPYING RISK to learn more about popular tech gifts like the Apple Air Tag, Audio WOW+ and Amazon Sidewalk.
And, once all tech gift security concerns having been addressed . . . enjoy your new gift!!
Have a Very Merry Christmas!
About the Author:
J.D. LeaSure, CCISM, is the President / CEO of ComSec LLC, a global provider of world class counterespionage and TSCM / Cyber TSCM™ services. www.ComSecLLc.com