Friday, March 3, 2017

Dolls Keep Getting More And More Nosy. And Scary

 Could hackers access voice messages left by kids
on this internet-connected cute toy?
Security experts say yes. 
Since when have toys gotten so nefarious?

In December, I told you about Cayla, the doll that collects information from chatty kids. This information could be used to target advertising, or worse, scam the kid or their family.

Now, we're learning about more dolls and toys that are just as cavalier about privacy.

There's a group of toy animals, made by an outfit called CloudPets, that can store and replay voice messages sent to them via the internet, says the Huffington Post. 

Often families buy these toys for things like sending hearfelt messages to and from dad or mom who might, say, by deployed in the military overseas.

The problem is, the personal information of more than 800,000 customers is now out there. These include some two million voice recordings, many of them made by children, the Huffington Post says. 

What's worse is CloudPets appears to some to have a pretty cavalier attitude toward the data breach.

Information like customers' login and password information and voice recordings, was in a database there for anyone who knew how to find the information.

Security experts like Troy Hunt ried to contact CloudPets about the issue, but never heard back from the company, the Huffington Post reports. 

The head of toy maker, Mark Meyers, denied that the voice recordings were stole, says Network World. 

The security threat isn't huge, espeically if the passwords for CloudPets products aren't the same as users' other devices.

But the data could be used to push messages to children, and there are a lot of creepy people out there.

I really think we should just go back to old fashioned dolls that have no connection to the internet.

According to The Guardian:

"John Madelin, CEO at IT security experts Reliance ACSN, echoes Hunt's warnings. "Connected toys that are easily accessible by hackers are sinister. The CloudPets issue highlights the fact tht manufactuers of connected devices really struggle to bake security in from the start."

Madelin called the accessibility of the CloudPets data "unforgivable."

Time to haul out the internet-free teddy bears we got when we were kids, I guess.

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