Toys that serve as a window to hackers, be careful what the Magi brought

The Internet and new technologies are here to stay. To this day, practically everything is connected to the network, including toys of the little ones. An advantage in some cases, but you have to remember that in others it is a window of entry for strangers who take advantage of the security breaches that these articles present.

This is remembered from the Federal Network Agency of Germany, who through the example of Cayla, a doll connected to the internet able to converse with children, showed how a toy can become an illegal spy device. A way for a stranger to interact with the child 24 hours without the family knowing about it.

Failed toy

The German Federal Network Agency was not the only one to alert parents to the risk of this doll. From the Norwegian Consumer Council Cayla was described as a "failed toy" and it was recommended to parents not to acquire this article due to its numerous cybersecurity failures. This same example can be applied to any toy with internet connection.

As both European organizations explain, any device that appears "online" is a possible window to hackers. A hole through which to look and that in this case is a greater danger because the protagonist of this viewing is a minor. Therefore, it is recommended that parents be attentive before making any purchase and check if the toy has an internet connection.

On the other hand, in the case that this toy has already been purchased, it is recommended that parents check if the internet connection is essential to enjoy the product. Sometimes this utility is added as an extra but it is not necessary at 100%. In these cases perhaps the best option is to dispense with this tool and in any case be informed by the security features that in many cases are usually quite easy to overcome by hackers.

In fact, even from the FBI the manufacturers of this type of toys have been called so that they do not sell an article and disengage. From the first hour, these products must have safe measures taking into account who is the user of the product. At the same time, a constant update is requested to prevent these systems from becoming obsolete.

Consoles and other devices

Not only should beware with toys with internet connection. Kings have also brought several devices with this utility such as game consoles and smartphones or tablets. Instruments that also suppose a window to undesirable alien glances. In these cases, a series of concepts must be taken into account:

- Privacy. In the case of children who receive a smartphone, we must remember what privacy means and avoid sharing personal information with strangers, either address or personal photographs. These terminals must be used as a communication device.

- Parental control. Both smartphones, tablets and game consoles offer parental control tools that impede access to certain content and offer parents information on the use they are given. Finding out and installing some of them is good advice.

- Monitor and restrict spending. In the case of video game consoles, and some applications of smartphones and tablets, online purchases are allowed. Parents should monitor this issue and include notifications to their accounts before the expense occurs.

- Activate verification in two steps. Some video game consoles offer a two-step verification system that goes beyond password identification. A tool that makes hackers more difficult.

Damián Montero

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