With the evolution of technology, toys have also become increasingly digital and with features that may be making available on the Internet personal data of minors. The US security agency has sent an alert to parents so they are more aware of the dangers that lie in these toys.
Currently a teddy bear is no longer a simple teddy bear.He probably talks, has an Internet connection and takes photos.
Microphones and cameras are some of the gadgets that today’s toys have that can make kids more vulnerable on the Internet with the on line availability of personal data and photos.
The FBI, aware of these dangers, has issued a warning to parents, saying that this technology allows personal information such as where they live, name and photos to get into the wrong hands, including hackers).
In a statement, the FBI reveals: “Intelligent toys and entertainment devices for children increasingly incorporate technologies that let them know about their habits and behaviors based on the child’s interactions with the toy.””These toys usually contain sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage components, and other multimedia features, including speech recognition and GPS options.”
As such, these features can put the privacy and safety of children at risk because of the amount of personal information that may be unintentionally revealed.
For the agency, personal information about a child allied to a toy’s ability to connect to the internet or other devices raises concerns about privacy and physical safety.This personal information, such as name, date of birth, preferences and address, is usually provided when creating a user account.
Another concern raised by these toys is that companies gather large amounts of additional data, such as voice messages, recordings of conversations, past and real-time physical locations, Internet usage history, and IP addresses.The exposure of this type of information creates opportunities for child identity fraud.
There have been a number of cases in which technology toys have become vulnerable to hackers , such as a children’s tablet called VTech, which in 2015 was the subject of a computer-generated attack, providing personal data for 6.4 million children in 15 countries.Another similar case, also in 2015, refers to Fisher Price’s Smart Toy Bear, which allegedly due to a software problem left its users’ personal data more exposed.
Also on the launch of Hello Barbie, which has voice recognition and Wi-Fi connection, some issues regarding the safety and privacy of minors have also been raised.
In the alert, the agency leaves some recommendations to the parents regarding the use of this type of toys:
– Only use these toys when you have access to a trusted network and password protected.
– Inquire about the safety measures of connecting the device to the internet.
– Ensure that the toy receives security and software updates.
– Use consistent passwords and avoid giving too much personal information when creating your user account.
– Check with the company that markets the toy where the user’s data is stored and transmitted to third parties.
– Monitor the child while using the toy.