Here’s a question: do you review each smart device’s policies and terms before you purchase the device? Probably not. However, when you pick out or receive a smart device, you really need to be aware of the privacy and security options (and compromises) that come along with each. To help consumers out with those decisions this holiday season, the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) issued its “Smart Device Purchase and Set-Up Checklist.” Check it out here. Here are just a few of their recommendations:

  • Use a firewall
  • Disable remote access to smart devices when you are not using them
  • If you cannot opt out of sharing data with third parties or not provided the option of opting in, consider alternative smart devices
  • Find out if security software patches are provided for the life of the products
  • Use a username and password that does not identify you or your family or the model of the device
  • Disable your microphone and camera when not in use
  • Reset the device to factory settings before you sell or give away your device

The OTA estimates that over 50 million smart devices will be sold and gifted this holiday season, including not only mobile phones, but also fitness trackers, kitchen appliances, and speakers that recognize you when you walk into a room so that your personal music choice can follow you around your house. Senior Director of Internet of Things (IoT) at Symantec, Brian Witten, says, “While people are aware that they need to have security on their connected devices, they don’t always take the necessary steps to protect themselves. Until device manufacturers build security into their products, the responsibility relies with the consumer.” So if you are on the market for a connected smart device (or you think Santa may be delivering one this year), make sure to check out the OTA’s helpful tips.