A Smart Device Owner's Safety Guide

What you need to know before setting up your new Internet-connected device.

ByABC News
December 21, 2015, 2:28 PM
Many of the smart devices used in American homes interact with the internet.
Many of the smart devices used in American homes interact with the internet.
Getty Images

— -- Chances are you or someone in your life will be receiving a smart device as a gift this holiday season.

Smart toys and connected gadgets are hot holiday gifts that can entertain, enlighten and make lives easier, but they also come with some inherent risks.

"Consider that anything wireless or anything that connects to Wi-Fi is hackable," Robert Siciliano, an online safety expert at Intel Security, told ABC News.

Here are some of Siciliano's top tips for making sure you stay safe with your new smart devices.

Do Your Research

Before setting up your new toy, Siciliano recommends doing a simple Google search with the name of the product.

"Do some research on the device and determine if there are any security issues," he said. "It could be a known vulnerability, malware, a flaw. We have known certain devices coming with a virus already on it from the manufacturer."

Make Sure You're Up to Date

Check the manufacturer's website to make sure you have the latest software and firmware updates. If there was a vulnerability discovered in your research, it's possible the manufacturer may have already issued a fix for it.

Secure Wi-Fi Is a Must

When it comes time to connect your device, "consider a secure Wi-Fi connection, as far as wireless goes," Siciliano said. "And always turn off Bluetooth when not in use because it is also hackable."

Change the Password

"A lot of these devices come with default passwords. That is a known," Siciliano said. Protect yourself from a potential hacker by changing your password.

Save the Box

Siciliano recommends holding onto product boxes for a few months. If you run into any issues with your product, having the box will make it easier to return.