THE FBI HAS WARNED PARENTS to stop buying their children toys that connect to the internet and advised them to get them jigsaws or Lego or something instead.
We already know that internet-connected dolls and teddies are a security nightmare, and now the FBI has sounded the alarm bells and warned parents in the US that they pose a risk to the "privacy and safety of children".
"Smart toys and entertainment devices for children are increasingly incorporating technologies that learn and tailor their behaviours based on user interactions," the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) division said in its warning notice.
"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."
These security-unaware gadgets ain't just going to learn what sandwiches your kid wants for lunch. The FBI warns that they could pick up details including a child's' name, date of birth, address, and even hobbies, which could be used to carry out child identity fraud
"Additionally, the potential misuse of sensitive data such as GPS location information, visual identifiers from pictures or videos, and known interests to garner trust from a child could present exploitation risks," the warning continues.
The IC3 added that parents should read consumer reviews and buy products from makers they trust.
"Security safeguards with these toys can be overlooked in the rush to market them and to make them easy to use," said the FBI. "Consumers should perform online research of these products for any known issues that have been identified by security researchers or in consumer reports."
The FBI ain't getting itself worked up over nothing here, as here at INQ, we've been covering hackable kids' playthings for years.
Back in 2015, we reported that hack on toy maker VTech exposed photos of millions of children, as well as chat logs and internal databases, and last year, Mattel was also found to have used tracking tech in brands including highly respected software developer Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Monster High, Ever After and Thomas and Friends products.
More recently, a German watchdog told parents to destroy a doll called 'Cayla' after it was uncovering that that it represents a huge threat to privacy. µ
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