Cheap tablets on offer over Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have seemed like a good deal, but security researchers warn that some of these devices may be riddled with vulnerabilities, security misconfigurations, or even security backdoors.
Security firm Bluebox Labs went out and purchased over a dozen of Black Friday "bargain" Android tablets from prominent retailers such Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Kmart, Kohl's and Staples, and tested each with a view to seeing how secure they were. The results are not pretty.
"Most of the devices ship with vulnerabilities and security misconfigurations," wrote Andrew Blaich, a security researcher at Bluebox Labs. "A few even include security backdoors. What seemed like great bargains turned out to be big security concerns. Unfortunately, unsuspecting consumers who purchase and use these devices will be putting their mobile data and passwords at risk."
Only two tablets, the Nexus 9 from Google (and at $400, it certainly cannot be considered to be a "bargain" tablet) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite, were given a trustworthiness rating of trustable. The $49.99 DigiLand tablet from BestBuy had, in the words of Blaich, "so many discrepancies and never-encountered-before security issues, that the current Trustable by Bluebox app couldn't accurately score the device."
This translates into real-world security headaches.
"We recommend that you avoid conducting online banking, making purchases or storing sensitive data on these devices - if you do, you will be putting your data at risk," Blaich warns.
Concerned about a tablet you have? Bluebox Labs have a free app that you can download from the Google Play store to check your device.
Be careful out there!