Worrying security issues for connected toys
As parents start to think about what to buy their little ones for Christmas, it is apparent that there are more connected toys on offer and they are now part of growing up as technology evolves.
However, the consumer watchdog 'Which?' has put pressure on retailers to stop selling some popular toys which they say have 'proven' security issues.
The toys they are looking to the retailers to stop selling include Furby Connect, the i-Que robot, Cloudpets and Toy-fi Teddy. Which? Found that there was no authentication required between the toys and the devices they could link with via Bluetooth. Out of the manufacturers, two said they took security very seriously.
This lack of authentication in theory meant that any device within physical range would be able to link to the toy and take control or send messages.
Which? Said 'Connected toys are becoming increasingly popular, but as our investigation shows, anyone considering buying one should apply a level of caution' says Alex Neil, Managing Director of Home products and services at Which?.
'Safety and security should be the absolute priority with any toy. If that can't be guaranteed, then the products should not be sold.'
The Furby Connect which is made by Hasbro, said in a statement that it believed the results of the tests carried out for Which? Had been achieved in very specific conditions. 'A tremendous amount of engineering would be required to reverse-engineer the product as well as to create new firmware' Hasbro said.
They added 'We feel confident in the way we have designed both the toy and the app to deliver a secure play experience.'
I-Que make Vivid Imagination, stated that there had been reports of their products being used in a malicious way but added that they would review Which?'s recommendations.
There was no comment from Spiral Toys which makes Cloudpets and Toy Fi.
Wowee Chip, Mattel Hello Barbie and Fisher Price Smart Toy Bear were also tested but were found not to have serious security concerns.
Professor Alan Woodward from Surrey University, cyber
security expert agreed that it was a no brainer that toys with security issues
should not be put on sale.
Sadly there have been many examples in the past two to three years of connected toys that have security flaws that put children at risk' he said.