AMAZON HAS YANKED CloudPets smart cuddly toys from its online store after warning that they pose a cyber security threat.
Back in February 2017 it was discovered that CloudPets toys were storing recordings of their owners' voices online with no security, posing a risk to privacy.
Spiral Toys, the toymaker behind CloudPets apparently took "swift action" but research commissioned by Mozilla found that the company, which no longer makes CloudPets, had not secured the data.
As such, Mozilla penned a letter to Amazon, Walmart and Target, which popped up online before it was quickly removed, though not before Redditors got their mitts on it. The letter asked the retailers to stop selling the CloudPets toys in order to protect child privacy, something the Mozilla Foundation is big into.
Amazon and other retailers quickly took action and removed the toys form their stores.
One of the main worries is that a vulnerability in the Bluetooth connectivity of the CloudPets could enable a hacker to not only record audio but also send messages to the toy through a third-party interface. As such, a cute Mr Tickles could end up spouting profanities or telling the child to run away or murder their parents, you know, classic horror film stuff.
While no one put Mozilla in charge of child privacy and security, the company has taken it upon itself to almost shame Amazon and others into taking action against tech toys with a nasty security sting.
It reckons retailers need to have a more active role in ensuring such toys don't pop up on their sites and in their stores.
"What CloudPets demonstrates is the potential privacy risks that even a toy with limited connectivity can pose," the letter said.
"We also urge you to consider putting in place new or improved systems to ensure that products you stock, especially those that collect the information of children, have basic practices in place to respect the trust that consumers place in them.
"We believe retailers have a crucial role to play when it comes to helping encourage manufacturers to respect the trust of their consumers."
This is not the first time smart toys have come with security gremlins; a smart doll was found to be vulnerable to hacking and allow weirdos to listen in on what children were saying to the doll.
We're increasingly convinced that such smart toys are the stuff of dystopian nightmares and wouldn't look out of place in an episode of Black Mirror. µ
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