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This year’s most hackable holiday gifts

This year’s most hackable holiday gifts
© Tauha2001 | Dreamstime

Think about what kind of gifts you REALLY want for the upcoming holiday season. Be honest now, it's very likely that right on top of your most wanted list is an internet-connected electronic gadget of some sort - a shiny new smartphone, a laptop, a tablet, an e-reader, a smart appliance or a connected toy. Heck, even wireless Bluetooth headphones are considered hackable connected devices now.

If you are fancying a techie internet-connected electronic gift under the Christmas tree, you are not alone. "Smart" gadgets have been steadily taking over everyone's holiday wish lists over the last few years.

But you better watch out! That connected gadget you covet may not be as secure as you think.

2017: The rise of connected toys and smart speakers

According to McAfee's 3rd annual Most Hackable Holiday Gifts list, one significant change from last year is the rise of internet-connected toys, taking one of the top spots from streaming media boxes and sticks.

It looks like the big trend of 2017 for appliance and toy manufacturers is to connect everything they can to the internet. From toasters to cuddly teddy bears, they're trying their darn best to give everything an IP address. Many connected toys even have their own GPS tracking chips, cameras and microphones. The problem is that some of these smart toy manufacturers are not putting software security as a top priority.

Click here to read more about the real risks of smart toys.

A new category making its debut on the list is the smart speaker/digital assistant. With the bargain prices of the Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini, smart speakers will make the perfect stocking stuffers this year.

Here are tips on how to stop your gadgets from listening to everything you say.

Another noticeable trend is that consumers are now increasingly trading in their old gadgets for upgrades. Fifty percent of those surveyed plan on giving away or selling their old connected gadgets when they get a new one. Unfortunately, 20 percent said that they do not know how to wipe their personal information from their gadgets before selling or giving them away.

Do you want to learn how to completely wipe your gadgets? Click here to learn how.

This year's most hackable holiday gifts

The rest of the list reveals that internet-connected gadgets are more popular than ever, with laptops, smartphones, and tablets occupying the top spots.

Here are 2017's hackable gifts rankings:

  1. Laptops
  2. Smartphones
  3. Tablets
  4. Drones
  5. Smart speakers/Digital Assistants (Echo/Google Home)
  6. Connected Toys
  7. Connected Appliances

But similar to last year's survey, McAfee said that although consumers are aware of the importance of protecting themselves against online threats, most are still unsure if they are taking the proper security measures on their connected devices. Worse yet, some don't even care about making security a priority.

So if you do receive an internet-connected holiday gift, what should you do?

Read on and I'll tell you how to protect these gadgets from hacks.

 Got a yuletide smart gift? Read this list and check it twice:

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