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The risks and vulnerabilities of connected toys

The risks and vulnerabilities of connected toys (KATU / Sinclair Cares)

We've all heard of the "Internet of Things". What about the "Internet of Toys?" Some of the hottest gifts on Christmas wish lists this year are connected toys.

Working in partnership with our parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, KTVO wants to keep you informed about important health and saftey matters. We believe it's our responsibility and privilege.

In this 'Sinclair Cares' report, Brian Wood tells us about the risks and vulnerabilities of connected toys.

Payton Bird and Chris Nochez think this robot car kit would be a pretty cool gift.

It comes with a wireless camera, hooks up to the home Wi-Fi and is controlled by an app on a tablet or phone.

As much fun as it might be, this toy, and others like it, are vulnerable to hackers.

"They put this toy away. I was able to then turn it back on, point the camera directly at them and zoom in and see exactly what they were doing."

And it was easy.

"This took me two hours to figure out how to break into this specific toy."

He may be wearing black, but Travis Smith is a "white hat" hacker working for Tripwire, a technology security company.

"Any device that you put on your network is increasing what we call your attack surface."

Payton's mom thought she was security conscious at home.

"But I never thought of anything with cameras or peope being able to peer in."

Since the toy is designed for kids to learn about software coding, the company making it told us that people can learn things and learn the security issues are not considered.

Many companies do what they can to keep their systems secure, but Travis says there are steps you should take.

"Numer one, change the password. Number two, apply updates when available. Number three, power it off if you don't need it."

Because it is not just your kids at risk.

"While your child is playing with this toy, or it is sitting on the counter, and you are logging into the bank account from your phone, I could potentially use this robot to spy on all of your banking information."

You many have noticed that Travis covered the camera on his laptop.

That's a quick and easy way for anyone to increase their privacy in case hackers get into your system.


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