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Internet Toys Are Fun, But Are They Secure?

By Kurt Darling, Network Indiana | Published on in Economy, Entertainment, Science
NPR photo

As you buy your child’s Christmas presents this year you might be thinking about buying a toy that connects to the Internet.

More and more toys on the market are incorporating digital technology, like these examples from the Better Business Bureau: Hello Barbie and My Friend Cayla. Both these toys are interactive with children who play with them by using the Internet.

Just like any device that uses the Internet, these too are able to be hacked into by online predators, said Tim Maniscalo, CEO and President of the BBB of Central Indiana.

“A lot of times technology is a great thing, but there’s always going to be someone out there who gets the technology and uses it for something that is bad,” Maniscalo said.

“In this information age, the more information I have about you, the more information I have about your child. I can do things like target you with certain information about advertising, or if the scammer has that, they can use that against you.”

Jason Ortiz is a cyber-security expert with Pondurance which a cyber-security company. He uses baby monitors that use Wi-Fi as an example.

“Even if it’s not being collected by the manufacturer, it’s incredibly vulnerable,” said Ortiz. “This is true with baby monitors; I think that’s well-publicized at this point. There’s a website that you can literally see all the connected baby monitors and watch the videos live because there’s no security implemented on them whatsoever.”

The BBB advises that you read the privacy policy that comes with a toy that connects to the Internet. Maniscalo said these will get you familiar with the laws in place that can protect you from hackers.