Buying a gadget this Christmas? Don't forget the security software!

One in three Brits will gift connected devices this Christmas to their friends and family, but most of them are unaware of security issues that come with them, says a research from Intel Security.

An alarming 60% of phone and tablet buyers this Christmas will not install security software in their new devices.

Intel Security has conducted a research on what Brits are going to buy on Christmas, and turns out one in every three Brits would go for an internet-connected device to gift his friends or family. While this isn't too surprising given the grip gadgets have on our lifestyles, what's surprising is that around 60% of them have no plans to install security software in their new devices.

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Aside from new smartphones and tablets, other gadgets like drones, laptops and PCs, media players, home automation devices, smart TVs, used devices and kids' gadgets are also quite vulnerable to hacks and privacy intrusions, but Intel Security's research noted that strangely, buyers aren't too concerned with protecting their devices from vulnerabilities. Less than half of all Brits know how to properly wipe used devices and as such, the devices they sell on eBay may still be used to obtain their confidential information.

“An underlying issue is that consumers simply don’t know which products need protecting. A fifth of those we surveyed said this was the reason for them leaving connected devices unprotected. All connected devices, whether old or new need to be protected to ensure personal information is safe from prying eyes,” said Nick Viney, VP Consumer at Intel Security.

The research notes that 40% of UK consumers will be selling their used devices before buying new ones and given that a lot of them do not know how to wipe their phones correctly, their devices may be used to obtain their details by new owners. What's more, around 34% buyers of second-hand devices do not reset their devices to factory settings, thus compromising security and privacy further.

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A lot of children will receive Christmas gifts in the form of connected gadgets this year, including gaming tablets. Even though kids tablets come with pre-installed security features, Intel's research notes that parents in general aren't as concerned with their kids getting exposed to the negative side of the internet. Around 15% of all Brits will be buying connected gadgets for their children this Christmas, but only 13% see the need to secure such devices to protect their children. The risks of not securing these devices include cyber bullying and access to content that's not meant for them. The research adds that 60% of children in the age group of 5-12 years are left unsupervised when they are accessing the internet.

Through the research report, Intel Security has offered some valuable tips to help protect your new devices and in turn, your privacy. These include installing security software like antivirus apps, using secure Wi-Fi networks, updating your device software as and when patches are made available by manufacturers, using strong passwords and verify links on the web before clicking on them.

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