Recently the FBI issued a warning to consumers about the privacy and identity theft dangers posed by internet connected toys. The toys, often come equipped with sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage components, speech recognition and GPS. They are incredibly sophisticated and can tailor the toy’s response to the child’s behaviors and words. The dangers arise from the lack of security of some of these toys in the manner they gather and store information.
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 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. Use encryption software for the transmission of data and research where data is stored and what steps are taken to secure the information. Also, limit the amount of information you provide when setting up the accounts for the toys. The less information out there, the less the risk of identity theft.