Don’t buy these cheap tablets rife with security problems

This weekend’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals will tempt many Canadians to add to their technology collection with slashed prices on tablets – but what compromises might you be making to save a few bucks?

Mobile security vendor Bluebox Security embarked upon its own shopping frenzy and bought up more than a dozen Android tablets from major retailers. The results are worrying:

“What we found was shocking,” writes Andrew Blaich, lead security analyst at Bluebox. “Most of the devices ship with vulnerabilities and misconfigurations; a few even include security backdoors.”

Here’s a few highlights of what the San Francisco-based company found in its research:

  • The worst offender, which had so many discrepancies, issues, and a back door that BlueBox didn’t even attempt to score it, was the DigiLand tablet from BestBuy. Thankfully, the device doesn’t appear to be available at BestBuy Canada’s website.
  • Overall tablets that were well below the $100 mark were deemed only “semi-trustable” at best. Some, were labelled as downright “suspicious.”
  • Your best bets for tablet deals look to be the HTC Nexus 9, which sells for $399.99 USD and it given a perfect trust score. If you really want a bargain, Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite is $99.99 and gets a trust score of 8.6 out of 10.

Don’t let an insecure tablet ruin your Christmas

While Bluebox conducted this test in the U.S. and many of the tablets aren’t available in Canada, there’s still a lesson learned here for Canadian deal hunters. While cheap tablets might seem appealing to pick up as a stocking stuffer or for your own use, there may be a reason these devices are being sold for such a low price.

Android is an open OS that can be heavily modified by a manufacturer, so if you’re not familiar with the name brand behind that device, you might want to do your research before putting down some cash. Especially if you plan to use your device in a working scenario, storing sensitive company data, then it’s important to to some due diligence.

Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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