The world of connected devices, or the Internet of Things (IoT), has taken over our everyday products.  More and more consumer grade items are starting to include the ability to connect to the internet.  However many of these IoT devices coming out either lack quality security protocols, or have no security what-so-ever.  We took a look at many devices including Kitchen Appliances, Home Entertainment Systems, and even children's toys and found some very disturbing patterns.

Connected Toys Are Easily Hacked

Many new children's toys are coming with the ability to connect to the internet through a wireless router or Bluetooth.  Connected toys are great for kids to use to learn new things, and have unique and fun ways to interact with their favorite toys.  This would seem harmless enough, but consumer affairs corespondent Rebecca Smithers reported to The Guardian that there are more and more instances of strangers talking to children through their connected toy's and devices.  The consumer report states that it is urging major retailers to withdraw a number of “connected” or “intelligent” toys likely to be popular at Christmas, after finding security failures that it warns could put children’s safety at risk.

Some of the toy's discovered include:

  • Furby Connect
  • Cloud Pets Toys
  • i-Que Intelligent Robot

Consumer Reports indicated that many of the ways that the devices connected to the internet was in a very insecure manner, and required little technical know-how to hack these toys and technologies.   It was reported that Samsung TV's were being used by nation-state actors to spy on conversations as well. The devices use Bluetooth or WiFi to connect to a local network, and often the connection had weak security measures in place, or no security measures put in place at all.  Once a hacker was able to connect to one of the above listed toys, they were faced with a very simple interface that allowed them to simply type whatever they wanted the toy to say, in the toys own voice.  In many cases the hacker was able to directly communicate with the children through the toy with their own voice.

This is of course a symptom of a much larger problem in the world of IoT.  It is now the norm for many consumer devices such as; coffee makers, refrigerators, baby monitors, & televisions just to name a few, to be connected to the internet.  This is a convenient way to help the consumer get important information, or gather details to help make better use of their devices.  However the manufacturers that often build and sell these devices tend to have a relaxed take on securing these connected devices properly.  Until trends change, you should expect that any device you own which connects to the internet can be hacked and used nefariously.

You should always take steps to secure any device you own which connects to the internet.  When shopping for new devices that offer a connection to the internet, you should make sure that the manufacturer has taken steps to ensure it is safe, or that you can connect to and secure the device yourself.  If it's not possible or there are no security measures put in place for the connected device, we recommend you stair clear.

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