Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Report: Some ‘Smart Toys’ Have Huge Security Vulnerabilities

Posted by M. C. on December 13, 2019

Your kids. Easy targets.

by Lucas Nolan

A recent report alleges that a number of “smart toys” have glaring security vulnerabilities that could place children at risk. In some cases, weak bluetooth security could allow strangers to digitally eavesdrop on children as they play.

British consumer group Which has warned parents that a number of “smart toys” for children come with security issues that could place children at risk. The group tested a number of toys, including karaoke machines and walkie talkie devices.

Two karaoke toys tested include Singing Machine SMK250PP and a microphone sold by TENVA, both of which utilize Bluetooth technology but do not use authentication methods such as a PIN code to secure the devices, allowing anyone withing Bluetooth range to connect to the device. The toymakers, Singing Machine, allege that users need to manually enter Bluetooth pairing mode but Which argues that anyone can connect to the device when it’s turned on.

Another pair of walkie talkies manufactured by toymaker KidiGear comes with a pairing flaw allowing strangers to connect to them despite the manufacturer claiming that the devices use “encrypted digital communication” technology. “The pairing of KidiGear Walkie Talkies cannot be initiated by a single device. Both devices have to start pairing at the same time within a short 30 second window in order to connect,” the manufacturer explains.

Other toys including the Mattel FFB15 Bloxels, the Sphero Mini interactive toy, and Boxer all have their own major security flaws which could place children at risk, according to the report. The Mattel Bloxels toy, for instance, allows children to create and upload their own games to the web, but Which found no content moderation whatsoever in the games…

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