It’s become a tradition here for many folks to do some technology shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The savvy shopper can often find great deals on otherwise expensive items, and if they are willing to brave the insanity of brick-and-mortar shopping on Black Friday, can sometimes get an amazing deal on the year’s hottest technology. Tablets are up at the top of everyone’s gift list, and cheap Android-based tablets are popping up everywhere, including a batch of sub-$100 tablets made by lesser-known (or unknown!) manufacturers that are flying off the shelves of discount retailers like Walmart and Walgreen’s. Unfortunately, these cheap tablets are shipping with a variety of security flaws that could pose a serious threat to you or your business.
What this means for you:
A detailed analysis performed by Bluebox Security walks through the flaws of 12 sub-$100 tablets, but I’ll simplify: if you’ve bought one of the tablets on their list, you should absolutely not access any of your important email, banking or business-service accounts with this device. The age-old rule of thumb applies here: you get what you pay for, and paying less than $50 for a tablet gets you a very unsecure device that should only be used for the most casual entertainment purposes. It is also highly unlikely that these devices can be made secure, as many of the flaws come from older versions of the Android operating system. Due to the limitations of the low-cost hardware use to build these tablets, upgrading the OS is highly unlikely without some serious hacking, and should only be attempted by a trained professional. At that point, you should really question whether the overall cost was really worth the initial savings. Long story short: these sub-$50 tablets should only be used as toys and never for serious business or personal use.
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