You got new gadgets for the holidays but how do you keep safe when they're connected online?

Posted at 7:42 AM, Dec 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-26 07:42:50-05

It's just after Christmas and you've gotten the kids all kinds of gadgets. Or maybe you got something that's Bluetooth or wifi enabled. How do you keep safe from the connectability of your new toys?

"In essence, it boils down to a couple different principles," said Brian Ray who is the Director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection at Cleveland State University. "The more things that are connected the more the more your privacy is in jeopardy both from a security standpoint and a privacy standpoint,” he told us.

Those connected gifts that you got like phones, gaming systems, toys can give people access to your own personal world. Settings on those gadgets are up to you. "You need to understand how they're connecting, you need to understand the settings, and check to see how secure that is,” said Ray. “If you’re going to connect them make sure you connect over secure wifi don't do it in public places."

When you are securely connected and setting up devices, you need strong unique passwords. "The best advice is to try to have a passphrase a longer phrase, something like ‘I love my three dogs,’” said Ray. “That will be really, really hard for some of these automated attack devices to figure out."

If you feel you have too many passwords, you can always use a password management system through a secure website or app. "You only have to remember one password and they're unique passwords for each of the sites that you enter into,” Ray said.

When you have connected devices, make sure you turn them off when you’re not using them especially when you're traveling and you might not know a device connects to an unsecure wifi or Bluetooth. “So that you're not opening yourself up to if there's a hack on your wifi system they suddenly get into these devices,” Ray told us.

It's all advice that will assist you in being safer but you have to stay on top of it. "There are advances in technology that are helping improve security but at the same time the bad guys are advancing as well,” Ray said.

Ray also emphasized you need to have cybersecurity conversations with your children so they know how to spot a phishing scam, when not to share information, and how to understand the devices' settings as well.