Get Cyber Safe Gift Guide

a pile of wrapped gifts; text: Your Get Cyber Safe Gift Guide 2021

Cyber security is a gift that never goes out of style. Whether you’re giving a gadget, receiving one, or treating yourself these holidays — follow these tips to stay cyber safe.

 

Before you buy a smart device

Be a smart consumer when you buy a smart device. While you are doing your comparison shopping, take the product’s security features and privacy policy into account, too!

Security Features: Some smart device manufacturers design their products to be easy to use and low cost to the consumer. But this can mean that the device's security features are weak or non-existent. When buying a new smart device, think about what data will be transmitted through the device, then research how the device will be protecting that data. At a minimum, check to see if the device will give you the option to create your own strong and unique password.

Privacy Policy: Smart devices can capture and transmit so much private information about us: our daily routines, our fitness and health habits, and our personal banking and payment information. So, before you buy a smart device, check to see how the vendor will be protecting the privacy of your information. Reputable smart device vendors will have a published policy that will explain the types of data their device will collect about you, how they will protect the privacy of your data and which companies and advertisers they will share your data with. In short, be sure to look for, and understand, the vendor's privacy policy and terms of use.

One more thing! Almost all smart devices will rely on your home Wi-Fi network for their connection. To secure your home Wi-Fi:

  • Make sure your Wi-Fi router has WPA2 encryption enabled.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi with a strong and unique password. A strong password includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Even better, use a passphrase made of four or more random words and at least 15 characters.
  • Create a separate guest network on your Wi-Fi network to connect your smart devices. This will prevent a cyber criminal from getting access to your other devices if your smart devices are compromised.

Categories

Smart Speakers

a smart home assistant

Smart speakers, also known as "voice-activated assistants", are speakers that include a microphone connected to a voice recognition system. Smart speakers can stream music and podcasts, perform automated tasks, make online purchases or operate household devices.

Risks:

  • A smart speaker's microphone could capture and transmit information you don't intend it to.
  • A smart speaker's online purchasing function could expose your payment info.

Tips:

  • Secure your smart speaker with a strong and unique password and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) if it is available on the device.
  • Enable its software to install updates automatically.
  • Don't use your smart speaker to remember sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers.
  • Turn off the online purchasing function if you're not using it, or secure it with a strong and unique purchase password.
  • Be selective about which devices and accounts you link to your smart speaker.
  • If you're not using the voice commands, you can mute the device's microphone.
  • If you are using the voice commands, there are some things you can do:
    • Don't place your smart speakers where strangers can make use of the voice commands, like by an open window.
    • Get into the habit of logging in to your account to verify the types of voice data that it is recording and adjust your privacy and data retention settings as needed.
    • Your smart speaker may have a feature where it will "fingerprint" or learn to recognize your voice and associate it to your account. Enabling this feature will help prevent unauthorized users from using voice commands to access your information (such as email or calendar appointments) or to make purchases on your account.

Smart TVs, projectors and streaming sticks

a smart television

Smart TVs, projectors and streaming sticks connect to your home's Wi-Fi network so that you can access streaming services, run apps and browse the internet.

Risks:

  • A smart TV's camera and microphone could capture and transmit information you don't intend them to.
  • The manufacturer's app store on these devices may be less trustworthy than the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

Tips:

  • If your smart TV has a camera, install a camera cover or deactivate the camera when not in use.
  • If your smart TV has a microphone, deactivate it or mute it when not in use.
  • Enable the device’s software and apps to install updates automatically.
  • When installing apps on your smart TV or streaming stick, note that manufacturer app stores may be less trustworthy than the Google Play store or Apple store.
  • Before installing new apps on your smart TV, take a look at the app's privacy policy and terms of use.
  • Get into the habit of logging in to your account to verify the types of data that it is recording and adjust your privacy and data retention settings as needed.

Gaming

a gaming system with two controllers

From the casual to the competitive gamer, there are gaming systems to match all levels and interests. Some gaming systems also feature virtual reality (VR) components.

Risks:

  • An unsecured gaming system could expose your personal info.
  • Oversharing could put your privacy at risk.
  • Immersive games could make you unaware of your surroundings.

Tips:

  • Create usernames that don't contain identifying info, like your real name, location or birthdate.
  • Secure your gaming account with a strong and unique password or passphrase. A strong password includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. A strong passphrase has four or more random words that have at least 15 characters.
  • In settings, turn off geolocation when not in use.
  • If your gaming system has a camera, disable it when not in use.
  • If you are using a gaming headset with a microphone, disable it when not in use.
  • Be mindful of who and what is around you when you play.

Smartphones, tablets and laptops

a smartphone

Personal devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones can be infected by cyber criminals who use malicious software (malware) to access your information, your money and even your identity.

Risks:

  • An unsecured device could expose your location.
  • Apps on your devices may collect and relay your data even when not in use.
  • Small devices could easily get lost or stolen.
  • Malware could be used to steal your data.
a laptop

Tips:

  • Secure your device with a strong and unique password or passphrase. A strong password includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, and a strong passphrase is made up of four or more random words and at least 15 characters.
  • Enable biometrics or smart-lock features (such as fingerprint, face or voice recognition).
  • Enable the auto-lock feature so that your device always locks automatically when not in use.
  • Keep your device's operating system up to date; you can enable it to install updates automatically.
  • Only download apps from trusted sources such as the Apple App Store or the Google Play store. Remember that apps downloaded from official app stores could still be malicious, and you should always be cautious when downloading any apps.
  • Don’t give apps access to more of your device’s resources or private information (camera, microphone, contacts, etc.) than they need or you are comfortable with sharing.
  • Install anti-virus protection on your devices.
  • Check to see if your tablet or smartphone manufacturer has a "device health" app and make use of it.
  • Don't "jailbreak", "root" or otherwise disable security measures imposed by your device's manufacturer.

Around the home

a smart lightbulb and a phone with a colour wheel on screen

Many household appliances and devices—including refrigerators, electronic door locks, doorbells, decorative lights, sleep machines and vacuums—now come in internet-enabled versions.

Risks:

  • A smart device could be hacked and give access to your Wi-Fi network.
  • Your daily routine could be exposed.
  • Devices could capture and transmit data you don’t intend them to.
a video doorbell

Tips:

  • Read the device’s privacy policy and terms of use.
  • Some smart devices come with a default username provided by the manufacturer. You should change this — if you can.
  • Secure each smart device with a strong and unique password or passphrase. A strong password is at least 12 characters and includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. A strong passphrase is made of 4 or more random words and contains at least 15 characters.
  • Keep your smart device's software up to date; you can enable some to install updates automatically.
  • Create a separate guest network on your Wi-Fi network to connect your smart devices. This prevents a cyber criminal from getting access to your other devices if your smart device is compromised.

On the go

a smart watch

Items that charge our devices or help us on the go – phone cases that are also chargers, stroller hook chargers, smart travel mugs, wireless earphones and portable speakers — also have unique cyber security risks. Using these devices in transit might mean connecting them to outside Wi-Fi networks, which exposes your device to more cyber criminals and cyber threats.

Risks:

  • Any device that isn’t your own plugged into a smart charger could leave your network exposed.
  • Devices connected to networks or other smart devices, like your phone, could be hacked and expose your data.
a portable speaker

Tips:

  • Portable charging solutions are great for on the go. Keep them charged up and only use them with your own secure devices.
  • Disable any features you don’t need, such as Bluetooth or location services. Turn off devices when not in use.

Health and fitness

a treadmill

Wearables and smart fitness equipment that track your health data and progress have a lot of your personal information. This can make them valuable targets for cyber criminals.

Risks:

a fitness tracker
  • Wearables like a fitness tracker could capture and transmit information you don't intend them to.
  • Health and fitness equipment that connect to your social media accounts could expose your location and daily routines.
  • A smart device could be hacked and give access to your Wi-Fi network.
  • Connecting to unsecured Wi-fi networks can expose your information to cyber criminals.

Tips:

  • If your device has a microphone or a camera, disable them when not in use.
  • Keep your fitness equipment’s operating system up to date. You can enable some to install updates automatically.
  • Before installing new apps on your fitness equipment, take a look at the app's privacy policy and terms of use. Be wary of apps asking for unnecessary or excessive information.
  • Be careful about allowing the apps on your fitness equipment to share your location on social media.

Protect all your gadgets these holidays so you can enjoy them to their fullest. Cyber safe greetings from our devices to yours!

 

  • Transcript

    Your Get Cyber Safe Gift Guide 2021

    Cyber security is the gift everyone needs. Whether you give or receive a new gadget, be cyber safe!

    Before buying anything:

    • Check security features
    • Read the privacy policy
    • Secure your home Wi-Fi

    Entertainment

    Smart TV

    Your camera and microphone could be monitored by hackers

    Tip: Install a security shutter on the camera and mute the microphones when not in use

    Smart home assistant

    An unsecured smart speaker may not protect your data

    Tip: Never allow the device to remember your passwords or credit card number

    Gaming system

    Oversharing could put your privacy at risk

    Tip: Create usernames that do not contain personal info

    Personal devices

    Smartwatch

    Smartwatches may collect data about you, such as your location and sleep patterns

    Tip: Read and understand the privacy policies of the apps and services you use

    Tablet

    Apps downloaded from untrustworthy sources may contain malware to steal your info

    Tip: Only install apps from trusted sources such as your tablet's official app store

    Smartphone

    Jailbreaking or removing the manufacturer's software controls may make your phone more vulnerable to malware

    Tip: Never "jailbreak", "root" or otherwise bypass security measures

    Laptop

    You might download malware that steals your data

    Tip: Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software

    Around the home

    Smart lighting

    Your daily routine could be exposed to a hacker

    Tip: Keep your device secure by installing software updates as they become available

    Video doorbell

    An unsecured video doorbell could be hacked, giving cyber criminals access to your doorbell's camera or your home network

    Tip: Make sure you can set your own strong and unique password or passphrase for the device

    Keyless lock

    An unsecured smart lock could let intruders into your home

    Tip: Choose a lock that requires more than one authentication factor to open

    On the go

    Smart chargers

    Plugging in a foreign device to your network-connected smart charger could expose your data

    Tip: Only use smart chargers with your own devices and turn chargers off

    Portable speakers

    An unsecured portable speaker with access to your network could be vulnerable to hacking

    Tip: Disable any connections and turn off device when not in use

    Health and fitness

    Wearable fitness tracker

    A wearable fitness tracker could capture and transmit information you don't intend it to

    Tip: Read and understand the privacy policy of any wearable fitness tracker or fitness tracking app

    Smart fitness equipment

    Smart fitness equipment or exercise machines could be hacked and expose your data

    Tip: Be careful connecting any of your social media accounts to your smart fitness equipment

     

    Protect your devices, and yourself, and enjoy #CyberSafeHolidays!

    Get more tips to secure your accounts and devices at GetCyberSafe.ca/cybersafeholidays


    Catalogue number: D96-54/2021-PDF | ISBN: 978-0-660-41154-5

Report a problem on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, please contact us.

Date modified: