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  • Writer's pictureESET Expert

Don´t let cybercriminals steal your Christmas joy

A new smartphone may sound like the perfect Christmas present until there is malware hidden in the device or the person´s identity gets stolen.

Smartphones have become an inseparable part of our lives, allowing us to communicate, make transactions, play games, or read news on the go. These devices became so prevalent that average screen time for users around the world reached 3 hours and 46 minutes in 2023, according to the Independent. Given this number, it is no surprise that 22% of people in the US have asked for a mobile phone as a Christmas present in 2022, according to Statista’s Global Consumer Survey.

The joy of finding a new smartphone under the tree is undeniable. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you start using it.

  1. Update software – keeping your software up to date is a crucial step in security as new updates fix bugs and vulnerabilities.

  2. Review app permissions – check and manage app permissions to restrict access to sensitive information and only grant necessary permission for each app.

  3. Review and customize privacy settings – go through the settings and customize them according to your preferences (or even better, security experts' recommendations).

  4. Use a reliable security solution – using a reputable security software is key to making sure your device stays healthy longer, so you can continue enjoying your gift for as long as possible.

There are other Christmas temptations than just sweets

With its holidays and festivities, the end of the year is often a period when cybercriminal activity surges. The most common threats around the holidays include online shopping scams, delivery phishing scams or even gift card scams and identity theft and much much more.

Sometimes scammers even create fake online stores offering Christmas sell-offs with the intent to steal your money and data. Most likely, they want to trick you into downloading malware or get hold of your personal data.

For example, in late 2022, the holidays celebrated in December led to increased phishing activity impersonating unspecified online shops. Moreover, when mobile game developers rolled out new releases before Christmas, attackers exploited the hype by uploading their modified malicious versions to third-party app stores, according to ESET Threat Report T3 2022.

In turn, ESET researchers observed a significant increase in Android adware detections by 57% in the last few months of 2022, having been driven by a staggering 163% increase in adware and a growth of 83% in HiddenApps detections.

These are just the campaigns that ESET researchers detected at the end of 2022. Your brand-new smartphone can also fall victim to a ransomware attack, it´s vulnerabilities can be exploited and don’t forget the “old-fashioned” physical theft. 

How to bring the Christmas joy back?

To protect your smartphone, stay vigilant when browsing the web or the app store and install a high-quality cybersecurity solution that protects against most of these threats. 

ESET Mobile Security (EMS) Premium for Android deals with all of the situations we outlined earlier. Besides Antivirus Scan and Adware Detector, which are part of the free version, ESET Mobile Security Premium also includes features that turn this solution into a complex, multilayered protection capable of deflecting a wide scope of attacks.

The long list of features includes Payment Protection, Anti-Phishing, Call Filter, Anti-Theft and much more. On top of that, the latest version, EMS 9, brings a new, redesigned, and simplified installation wizard.

All these juicy features now come with a generous price drop, making it a gift that keeps giving. From December 23rd to January 6th , the premium version of ESET Mobile Security will be 50% off. There is no need for a promotional code; the discount will automatically be added to your checkout! It couldn’t be easier.

Boost your smartphones security for a more connected and hassle-free holiday. Stay safe, not just during Christmas, but all year round. The gift of a smartphone is one that can keep on giving or taking. May your holiday season be filled with joy and your digital experiences be not only festive, but also secure.

Wishing you a merry Christmas and a digitally protected New Year! 


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