3 Things to Look for Before You Buy a Smart Device

December 3, 2018

Smart home assistants, virtual reality headsets, smartwatches—these are some of the hottest gifts flying off the shelves this holiday season. Before you buy a device that connects to the Internet, do your research to help protect yourself, and your gift's recipient, from falling victim to cybercrime.

1) Only buy from companies and sites you trust

Take the time to do some comparison shopping and ensure the company you are buying from offers smart devices with at least basic security features such as the ability to lock the device with a password.

When buying online, stick to secure websites, with URLs that begin with “https.”

Some warning signs that a site could be untrustworthy include:

  1. Poor or unprofessional design
  2. Broken links or a disabled back button
  3. No contact information such as a phone number, email, or address
  4. No return policy

Research other's people experiences with the device, or with the company/site you are buying from. If the reviews are mostly poor, or mention security or privacy issues, consider shopping elsewhere.

2) Look for security features

An untrustworthy company could sell you a faulty device with weak, limited, or non-existent security measures. When buying a new smart device, think about what data will be collected from you, then research how the device will protect that data. At a minimum, check to see if the device will give you the option to lock the device with your own strong and unique password.

3) Check the company's privacy policy and data-sharing practices

All reputable connected-device vendors will have a published policy specifying the types of data collected by their device, which can include your daily routines, fitness and health habits, and personal banking and payment information. Before you buy a device, check the privacy policy and terms of use to understand what information will be collected from you, and what it will be used for.


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