Posted By Simon Montford on Dec 15, 2015
Hello Barbie is set to become one of the hottest toys this holiday season. The wi-fi enabled doll comes with an app that enables the plastic princess to record and play back speech. Sounds like fun, until parents discover that hackers could utilise vulnerabilities in the toy's software to spy on their children! It could also be used to collect personal data, such as the home addresses of children and recordings of them talking to the doll.
Earlier this month toy manufacturer VTech confirmed that over seven hundred thousand profiles of children in the UK were intercepted by hackers. In addition, over five hundred and fifty thousand profiles belonging to the children's parents were also accessed. The greatest number of VTech customers affected by the hack were located in the States, where over five million profiles were compromised.
The best way to protect, not just toys but any kind of connected device, is to ensure that optimum encryption technology is installed. The problem is that too many makers of connected devices don't take security seriously enough. Mattel, makers of Hello Barbie, told the press that they have increased the doll's security in order to prevent further hacks.
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