Scam of the day – February 24, 2017 – Talking doll banned in Germany

Cayla, a new doll from Genesis Toys seems like such a nice girl, but according to the Bundesnetagentur, the German telecommunications regulatory agency, she is a spy and she is now banned from Germany. Cayla is a part of the ever expanding Internet of Things and according to the Bundesnetagentur, Cayla has hidden cameras and microphones that could be used to record private conversations over an insecure Bluetooth connection.

Cayla is not the first doll to be so equipped, In the Fall of 2015, the latest incarnation of Barbie, the “Hello Barbie” was introduced.  Hello Barbie also has hidden microphones and speakers, but  instead of Bluetooth technology, uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) which is an encryption protocol to protect the privacy and security of communications


Many of the devices that make up the Internet of Things come with preset passwords that can easily be discovered by hackers.  Change your password as soon as you set up the product.  Also, set up a guest network on your router exclusively for your Internet of Things devices.

Scam of the day – December 5, 2013 – Car hacking update

Regular readers of Scamicide (which I hope you all are) may remember the Scam of the day for September 3, 2013 in which I warned you about the new dangers of the electronic and wireless network systems of cars being able to be hacked which could not only lead to car thefts, but even control over the vehicle, such that the braking and steering and accelerator could be remotely controlled.   With more of our automobiles’ systems becoming electronic and integrated with wireless technology, the safety and security risks are magnifying.  Last summer at a white hat hacking conference, the vulnerability of automobiles to hackers controlling the brakes, steering and accelerator was described.   Now Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts has sent a letter to automobile manufacturers in which he said, “As vehicles become more integrated with wireless technology, there are more avenues through which a hacker could introduce malicious code and more avenues through which a driver’s basic right to privacy could be compromised.”  He went on to say, “These threats demonstrate the need for robust vehicle security policies to ensure the safety and privacy of our nation’s drivers.”  The automobile manufacturers are presently reviewing Senator Markey’s letter before responding.


Although your risk of having a hacker taking over control of your car to cause it to crash is quite remote, the risk of your locking system being breached by a hacker who can then steal your car is quite real.  here is a link to a memorandum from the United States Computer Readiness Team, a part of the Department of Homeland Security which provides some tips for how to protect your Bluetooth system, which is often used in automobile wireless systems.