Black Friday tablet deals are pretty big this year, with tablets selling for as cheap as around $40 in some places, but consumers should be alert about these deals. It’s not just that they might be poorer quality but, according to computer security experts, they might actually be putting your sensitive information at risk.
Most Black Friday shoppers are already aware of some of the risks of discount electronics. Time notes that when you buy electronics from the so-called ‘big box’ stores, discounted or big sale items may not be the same product as you’d get at full price. These special discounted items often use cheaper components that lower the overall price but make the items a bad deal in the long run, when they wear out more quickly than the regular item would.
According to Bluebox, though, there’s a bigger danger. Bluebox is a mobile data security firm and, this year, they say they’ve tested Android tablets from various retailers and found that the ones with the biggest discounts often suffer from more than minor security flaws.
Let’s be clear: we’re not just talking about the fact that the internet is a public place and sometimes your data goes a little wider than you intended. This is more than a site gathering information about what you click and read and using that info to target the right ads to you — this is about the potential for financial and identity data to be nabbed, and in some cases, Bluebox says it looks rather deliberate.
Bluebox tested devices that are being sold at Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Kmart, Staples, and others. In some cases they were unable to confirm that the model purchased was the same tablet being sold for Black Friday but, in the end, they found trust issues with all but two of the devices on their list. (The two they found no issues with were the HTC Nexus 9 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite.)
Of the others, a few had security issues that are known to Android devices and aren’t unusual concerns.
Some of the Black Friday tablets really raised red flags, though: Best Buy’s Digiland tablet, Walmart’s Worryfree Zeepad, Walgreens’ Polaroid tablet, and Kohls’ Zeki tablet all had what the security firm calls ‘security misconfigurations,’ as well as security ‘backdoors’ that would allow a person who knew about the backdoor to access anything on the tablet.
There are lots of Black Friday deals you should take extra care about or avoid altogether, and this falls into a gray area between the two categories. If you’re going Black Friday tablet shopping, you may want to stick to trusted brands and watch out for deals that seem too good to be true.
[Photo credit: Beep]