‘SMART’ Christmas presents could leave people vulnerable to cyber-attack and allow criminals to invade their privacy.

That’s the warning from Poole-based cyber-security company C3IA Solutions, which says the market is being flooded with cheaper, less secure products.

Anything that can be connected to the internet presents a potential risk, and users - including businesses - are often unaware of the potential dangers.

These devices include doorbells, smart plugs, home assistants, modern televisions and children’s toys.

Hannah Baverstock, from C3IA Solutions, said: “The Internet of Things is the term for all those devices that connect to the internet.

“And while they are incredible pieces of tech that often make our lives easier, there are risks.

“And these risks are increasing because of the growing number of them and the types of company around the world producing them.

“They are designed to seamlessly fit into our lives, but they do require maintenance to keep them secure.

“Many will use cameras or microphones and so are potentially capable of invading your privacy.

“We have also seen a new wave of products that are cheaper and less secure and can become vulnerable very quickly.”

Hannah said people can reduce risks by buying from reliable, well-known brands that have websites, helplines and support.

She also advised people check reviews and buy products that have long support periods and receive regular security updates.

Hannah said: “All default passwords should be changed because they are easy to guess and often are available to find on the internet. And choose strong passwords – three random words is a good method.

“Disable features that are not required and also pay attention to any associated apps. Sometimes the apps ask for permission to access your camera which the device doesn’t need, so deny it permission.

“Most devices will connect to a home’s Wi-Fi and the router acts as the gatekeeper so it needs to be secure. Its default password should be changed, and any firewall should be enabled.

“It is also wise to change the SSID (Service Set Identifier) because this makes it harder for any hacker to guess the make of the router.”

She added: “If people ensure their devices are as secure as possible the hackers will quickly move on to a new victim.”