The gift that keeps on giving: 7 tips to avoid cyber security threats

Did you give or receive a toy or new parental control or security app for the holidays?

While well intentioned, you may have inadvertently created a security breach for the recipient or opened your family up to unwanted surveillance.

The Internet of security breaches

The Internet of Things (IoT) is not just for your smart doorbell or connected refrigerator. Your child’s toys also connect to the Internet.

We previously wrote about the risks of connected toys. As time passes, connected toys become more popular and these threats only increase.

Poorly secured toys can open your network to target other devices on the same network. Devices such as smart TVs, smart doorbells, personal digital assistants, speakers, phones, laptops, and tablets can all be put at risk.

They can also be used to target others as part of a botnet. We frequently read about DDoS attacks, but how do they happen? Infected internet-connected devices – potentially including that new baby camera you received for Christmas or your child’s new smart doll – are used to launch the attack.

Read on for tips to stay protected.

Preventing privacy perils

It’s not only cyber security threats that you need to watch out for. It’s also privacy violations. Your personal data is big business.

Privacy issues range from targeted ads, selling personal data to data brokers, to location tracking or even the physical threat of someone stalking you with a Bluetooth tagger. According to Jen Caltrider, lead author of the Mozilla Foundation’s Privacy Not Included guide, “It’s just inevitable that data’s going to leak. … Anything that’s next to the internet is just not safe.”

Yet, it’s not just inadvertent data breaches to watch out for. The apps that you got to protect your children may also be putting your privacy at risk. According to a recent report by TheMarkup, a popular family safety app, Life360, is actually selling data on kids’ locations to data brokers. While this is disclosed in their privacy policy, many parents are not aware of it, and several…