Interactive toys, aka connected toys, are getting quite popular. So popular in fact, that the FBI has issued a warning towards parents about them.
This year connected toys like the Cloud Pets stuffed animals had some issues. Hackers managed to steal some of the user data and potentially listen in via the microphones and recordings.
Other toys also have such technology. They present a problem. So, the FBI issued a formal Consumer Notice about the topic.
Be extra careful with smart toys
“The FBI encourages consumers to consider cyber security prior to introducing smart, interactive, internet-connected toys into their homes or trusted environments”, writes the FBI. “Smart toys and entertainment devices for children are increasingly incorporating technologies that learn and tailor their behaviors based on user interactions. These toys typically contain sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage components, and other multimedia capabilities – including speech recognition and GPS options. These features could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that may be unwittingly disclosed”.
The statement then goes into more detail about the problem and how these toys work. It also lines out the protection laws. And it also gives some advice on what you should do:
You should first research each connected toy and see if there were reported security issues online. You should only use the connected toys in a trusted and secured WiFi network.
Use all security measures available. For example a PIN code when connecting the toy to another device. Encryption for the connection and always the most updated and recent software possible.