Security 101

Got a New Holiday Gadget? Secure Your Gateway to the Internet!

Two things grow exponentially each year: the number of mobile gadgets sold and the vulnerabilities that appear on them!

black friday massesa
Christmas and Black Friday generate shopping crowds each year.

Black Friday kicked off a holiday shopping season that’s expected to shatter records for mobile device sales. Consumers are picking up the hottest new deals at bargain prices. Last year the November to December holiday shopping season produced more than $108 billion in sales revenue per Adobe. Stunning! This year, Thanksgiving and Black Friday generated $7.9 billion in revenue in the US alone!

Millions of shiny new smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, and laptops will be activated this December as they arrive at their owner’s doorstep. These mobile devices do everything for us. They connect us, they entertain us, and they keep us connected to all services and infrastructures that make our lives a little bit easier every day.

Today’s phones, tablets, and laptops serve as a gatekeeper between us and the internet, carrying with them extremely sensible accounts, credentials such as password recovery codes, and two-factor authentication access.

We link them to our credit cards, bank accounts, and our very own identity. These same connections that make life with mobile devices so convenient, can also open malicious doors if lost or in the wrong hands.

3 Easy Steps to Protect Your New Holiday Gadgets

It takes more than a protective case or screen protector to safeguard your Black Friday and Christmas purchases. Let’s make sure your new gadget and your privacy and property stay safe and sound at all times with three simple steps.

1. Update Immediately

New devices typically ship with an outdated system — so be sure to perform an immediate system update, then follow that with an anti-virus update. Security threats are patched with each new update, so don’t wait! The greatest vulnerabilities to mobile devices are left open for a very simple reason: people don’t update.

2. Install Security Apps

Now that your laptops, phones, and tablets are updated and current, start adding priority apps. You can begin by removing some of the clutter to free up space, as most devices are preloaded with apps the OEM thinks you’ll want.

Update your anti-virus with strong protection from third-party providers like Bitdefender, McAfee. Norton or 360 Total Security, and be sure to turn active monitoring on. Consider added security with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like TunnelBear to ensure even greater security and privacy when connecting to public networks.

Also look for data monitoring software like Little Snitch for help controlling and monitoring what apps do with your data and where they send it. Then simplify life while adding security with a password manager such as LastPass to secure your login credentials, organized in an easy to use app vault. If you’d like more help

3. Keep Track of your Device

Your mobile devices travel with you everywhere you go, so protect your devices and their data against loss and theft. We can give you a hand on this one, take Prey Anti-Theft on your devices. Prey will help locate a misplaced phone or to take action if your device is stolen. Unlike regular ‘find my…’ apps, we’re transparent when it comes to our data handling and your privacy is our top priority. Plus, it’s more than tracking and theft-reaction. You can recover and wipe data, track a device in time, and get evidence reports to request police action.

So when you open the box to charge your new devices this holiday season, take a few minutes to review these three proactive steps to protect your new phones and laptops, and lock down not only their data but also their ability to access sensitive files, services and websites. You’ll be ready to quickly recover and/or wipe your phone if it’s ever lost or stolen!

Go a step further

If you’d like to add a little more security beyond these three steps, consider taking a few more additional protective measures. We recently published a more in-depth article sharing steps that both Android and iPhone users can take to increase their mobile protection even more. Check out our blog post, “20 Ways to Secure your Mobile Phone” and keep all your new devices and gadgets safe!

With these tips, you’ll make sure the only thing you worry about is enjoying your new toys- Do stay on the lookout during these dates and don’t leave your gadgets hanging unattended, there are always opportunists Grinch lurking around looking to make a quick profit out of new technology. Stay safe, and happy holidays!

About the author

Nicolas Poggi

Nicolas Poggi is the head of mobile research at Prey, Inc., provider of the open source Prey Anti-Theft software protecting eight million mobile devices. Nic’s work explores technology innovations within the mobile marketplace, and their impact upon security. Nic also serves as Prey’s communications manager, overseeing the company’s brand and content creation. Nic is a technology and contemporary culture journalist and author, and before joining Prey held positions as head of indie coverage at TheGameFanatics, and as FM radio host and interviewer at IndieAir.