Don’t Toy Around: Safety-First Means Security-First

Let it…glow? We live in a connected world, and it’s especially apparent through the holidays with so many internet-connected (IoT) children’s toys lining the shelves. We recently discussed prioritizing security with IoT devices in your home and office, and toys are no exception.

IoT toys aren’t made to be dangerous, and the interactive features are undeniably appealing to kids and parents alike. Some even have health and safety benefits, like stuffed animals that monitor vital signs and GPS features that help track a lost child.

But as with any internet-connected devices, it’s important to keep in mind things aren’t always manufactured with top line security. And when they are, we have to make the time to consider the devices security and upkeep.

 

Hot New Toys Give Us a Chill

We recently heard an anecdote about someone who bought their child an interactive battle toy. The toy integrated with smartphones to provide a connect-with-your-friends component. Very cool feature – until they opened the public-facing app and saw a pin dropped that showed the exact location of the toy, and therefore the child.

It was a startling discovery for the parent, and it brought to light the security and privacy of other IoT toys. Internet-connected dolls and stuffed animals, smartwatches and tablets, and even baby monitors can have significant implications if they are hacked. Depending on the device’s functionality, they can contain:

  • GPS and location data and tracking

  • Image, voice, and video footage recording

  • Health and activity information, schedule, and other private information

Concerns don’t stop with toys, either. There are stories of inappropriate or dangerous malware contained within children’s apps, and online games and accounts where information is exchanged are a target as well.

What’s more, cybercriminals can use a hacked toy or account to reach other parts of the network. At home, this can mean access to private family information like tax documents. And the trouble can translate to your business: if you then connect your work computer to the network while working from home, company access and data could be at risk.

 

Keeping IoT Merry

IoT toys aren’t going away any time soon, but the good news is that discussion and regulation of IoT devices is underway. And there are plenty of steps you can take to help minimize your family’s risk when looking at connected toys, games, and programs:

  • Ensure that devices you purchase have sufficient security built in.

  • Use a strong password to connect devices to the internet.

  • Carefully review the applications your children are interested in. If you have doubts about their security, explain your concerns and do not allow them to download the app.

  • Don’t let anyone – including children – use your work computer, and don’t use your company credentials to set up children’s accounts.

  • If children use the computer at home, set them up with their own login and account.

 

When it comes to security for those shiny new connected toys this holiday season, remember, think “must-have” not “nice-to-have” and you’ll be a lot more safe and secure.

 

Stay Safe,

Your Friends @ Defendify