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Flowers or new device for Mother’s Day? Both can be risky

April 14, 2021

If you’re looking for a safe gift for mom, flowers often will do the trick. That is, unless you’ve been lured into a flowers scam by a phishing email. In that case, you might have your credit card information stolen, and your mom won’t get a bouquet.

Another gift option is a new device — a smartphone, laptop, or notebook — so mom can stay in touch with you 24/7, 365 days a year. This carries risks, too, such as too much mom. But that’s not all.

When you give mom a new device, she could become a target for cybercriminals or snoops. She taught you better than that. That’s why it’s important to take steps to help ensure privacy and security.

7 security tips for setting up mom’s new device

Here are some basic tips mom will appreciate.

1. Secure that home Wi-Fi network: Mom will likely connect her new device to her home network, so make sure her Wi-Fi router is secure with strong encryption. And if mom takes her new device out and about, offer this reminder: Avoid connecting to unsecure public Wi-Fi. Use a VPN to offer an extra layer of protection.

2. Set up Touch ID or Face ID: Mom’s fingerprint or face can probably be used to unlock her device. Biometrics provide strong security.

3. Set up two-factor authentication: So-called 2FA requires two different types of information — like a fingerprint and a password. That second “factor” enhances security.

4. Create a strong password: A new device requires a strong, complex, and unique password. A strong password consists of 12 letters, numbers, and special characters. Another option is a passphrase — a string of words mom can remember but others might find hard to guess. Example: When it rains in Spain Oleander7 eat your vegetables.

5. Take a tour of settings: Mom’s new device will have default privacy and security settings. Take time to review and adjust them as needed. For instance, settings probably include location services. Which apps really need to know mom’s whereabouts?

6. Set up Find My iPhone, iPad, or Device: Both iOS and Android devices offer a “find” feature that helps you locate a lost or stolen device. It also enables mom to delete the data stored on a device. Reminder for mom: Don’t forget to back up that data.

7. Install reputable security software: Security software helps protect against hackers and threats like malware. It’s smart to enable automatic updates. These updates help ensure mom’s device is protected with up-to-date security patches. This can also help protect against identity theft by blocking access to personal information kept on the device.

What’s the right gift for mom?

It depends. All moms are different. It’s up to you decide whether flowers or a new device is the best choice for your mom. Either way, it’s smart to think about privacy and security.

And then there’s always chocolate.

Cyber threats have evolved, and so have we.

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Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

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