Helping you balance your online life

Apr 7th


These Cute Teddy Bears Have Been Recording Your Kids

When we think of cyberhacks, we often think of criminals trying to break into a network of important information protected behind a screen. You might think of enterprises and large organizations as victims of cyberattacks, but actors are moving their target to the home. Living with three kids, I try to make my home––and my tech––as safe for my kids as possible.

Cybercriminals are tricky, however, and sometimes sneak into our homes in ways we'd never imagine possible. Recent attacks are even targeting children's toys that connect to the internet, putting not only you, but your children's privacy at risk.

CloudPets are lovable plush toys that allow kids to communicate directly with loved ones from afar. Friends and family members from around the globe can record voice messages on the CloudPets mobile app and upload it to a child's stuffed animal, which will then play it for the owner. Kids can respond back by recording their own message through the stuffed animal's built-in recording mechanism.

Security expert Troy Hunt was contacted last month by an unknown source, who told Hunt they had access to the entire CloudPets database of passwords and recordings. The source sent a snippet of about half a million recordings to Hunt, who then began to work on verifying their authenticity. He had been leading a security course at the time, and one of his students in the class was registered as a CloudPets parent. Using his student's information, Hunt was able to locate his student's email in the database, match the passwords, and authenticate the data. The leaked information included audio recordings of both children and adult voices with direct links, as well as the account profile photos of the kids who possessed the toys.

So, what does this mean for our children and their security? While this leak wasn't as bad as the VTech breach that occurred a few years back, it's still unclear how many people accessed the data that was exposed by this vulnerability. Because CloudPets didn't have any complexity requirements for account passwords, it means it's that much more vital to teach our children the importance of creating secure, complex logins. As the industry learns from attacks and fights back, there are a few proactive steps you––and your kids––can take.

Read on here to learn more about the three "S's" to make your family more secure using these devices at home. In summary they include:

  • Secure: Protect your online accounts by using a password manager to keep track of your logins and passwords.
  • Separate: Connect your devices to separate networks with distinct connections to minimize your chances of getting hacked. We recommend one for your personal laptops, smartphones and tablets; one for guests' devices; and one for other smart devices.
  • Safeguard: Invest in an internet router that has all the security protections built in so that your devices get maximum security.

Original Article: McAfee Blog, by Radhika Sarange