In the midst of the Christmas season, safety often gets pushed to the back of our mind. Despite this, new insights from leading cyber security firm, Norton by Symantec, reveals three in four parents dispose of or return presents if they think they pose a cyber security risk. The data also indicates that Australian parents either plan to buy their children connected gifts such as tablets (25%), mobile phones (24%), laptops (20%) or gaming consoles (19%) this Christmas; or enforce a connection-free gift policy among friends and family.

To avoid the hassle of having to return gifts this year, let alone the scary reality of cyber security risks, these are the top 6 things to know when buying toys this Christmas, according to Mark Gorrie, Territory Manager and Cyber Security expert – ANZ, Norton by Symantec:

Christmas Internet

  1. Vet and investigate the toys you’re buying: Investigate the connected features that may put your child’s privacy and identity at risk. Start with looking for virtual front doors such as cameras and app-control features. Don’t forget to also check the online experiences associated with ‘offline’ toys such as added virtual challenges, video content, or chat rooms that encourage kids to explore further online.
  2. Educate your child about online safety by showing them: Play an online game with your child and point out where potential risks are as you see them. Look out for click bait advertising, game chat rooms, or content searches that can lead into dangerous territories.
  3. Turn off IoT connected toys when they aren’t in use: Turn off recording capabilities and microphone functions once play time has finished. Cover devices and toys with camera features while they are not in use to ensure hackers can’t peak into your home should the toy be compromised.
  4. Protect your bank details when shopping for connected toys online: Always look for the padlock symbol in the address bar as this shows that the website is secure. Be careful when letting a website ‘remember’ your credit card details and consider retyping them if you don’t shop there regularly. Only use trusted shopping sites.
  5. Invest or renew your security subscription: Use Christmas as an annual reminder to ensure your online security software and processes are up to date. The latest Security subscriptions, such as Norton by Symantec includes parental control software to control content, websites, and times kids can access the internet.
  6. Avoid connecting toys to free public Wi-Fi: Free public Wi-Fi is insecure and can be easy for hackers to intercept your connection and steal personal and financial information while you’re connected. Protect your connection with an easy to use VPN like Norton Secure VPN to encrypt information.

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