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Top tips for staying safe online this festive season
Thu, 21st Dec 2023

As the festive season beckons, there is a surge of excitement as we look forward to giving and receiving the latest technology gifts. From novelty tech toys fostering creativity to interactive devices driving familial bonding, such gadgets certainly add a unique sparkle to our celebrations. Keeper Security, a notable provider of cybersecurity software which protects passwords and passkeys, seeks to emphasise the importance of safeguarding personal data and privacy whilst we navigate this joyous time of the year.

During family gatherings, while enjoying the thrill that new technological toys bring, it becomes essential to incorporate mindful practices to secure your family’s privacy, safety, and digital security. The festive season, unfortunately, sees a spike in the activity of cybercriminals, exploiting the frantic pace of the holidays to target individuals who may have dropped their guard.

As Darren Guccione, CEO and Co-founder of Keeper Security, stated, "As we embrace the joy of gift-giving during the holiday season, it's critical to recognise the inherent risks that come with tech gadgets. From data collection to vulnerabilities, these devices can be a serious existential threat to the privacy and security of children and families." There is an urgent need for everyone to take definite steps to secure their home networks and tech gadgets to safeguard their online security during the festivities.

As part of its dedication to user safety, Keeper earnestly advises consumers to adopt certain precautions when setting up a new toy or welcoming loved ones into their homes. Firstly, protect new devices. Most IoT devices are shipped with factory-set passwords intended to be changed posthaste. Create a distinct password for each device’s associated account using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Using a password manager can help generate complex passwords and safely store them.

Secondly, secure your WiFI network by having a robust password, altering the network name from its default, turning on router encryption via settings and regularly updating software to enlist new security patches. Sharing WiFi passwords should be done through an encrypted sharing tool and passwords should be changed after guests depart.

When setting up new toys, make sure to review privacy settings, ensuring data collection is minimal and compliant with regulations, and permissions guard against unwarranted access to functionalities like cameras or microphones. Activate and customise parental controls, manage access to age-appropriate content, and limit online interactions to counter any potential risks connected to cyberbullies or exploitation. Enable data deletion possibilities where possible, use multi-factor authentication, and make sure you communicate with your children about cybersecurity.

Implementing these recommendations can mitigate the privacy, safety, and security risks that come with new tech gifts. It’s crucial for consumers to understand the data practices of tech toys, update device settings to strengthen security, and stay apprised of any potential vulnerabilities. Remaining vigilant and informed ensures that the holiday spirit also extends to maintaining a secure and privacy-conscious digital interaction for ourselves and those we care about.