Parents should be thinking about switching off cameras and geolocation settings in Christmas presents to defend their children from hackers, the knowledge Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned.
Smart toys and wearable products are very desirable children’s toys this Christmas, although the regulator has warned their internet connectivity presents safety risks from hackers.
The guidance comes amid growing worry about the susceptibility of cameras, microphones and sensors on toys to hacking.
In your blog post for the ICO, Steven Wood, the deputy commissioner, wrote: “You wouldn’t knowingly put in a child a high risk toy, exactly why risk buying them whatever might be easily hacked into by strangers?
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“In the same manner safety standards certainly are a primary consideration for shoppers buying toys, we want those buying connected belongings in next weeks for taking a pause and think of each child’s online safety, along with the potential threat to their own personal personal data like bank details, when a toy, device or simply a supporting app is hacked into,” he was quoted saying.
Wood issued advice for moms and dads who might buy smart toys for children this Christmas, urging adults to check if their internet router is protected, consider creating electronic devices with strong privacy options before their child unwraps their gift and turn off Bluetooth connections.
The deputy commissioner warned parents: “If you are not convinced a good toy or connected/wearable device will keep children maybe personal information safe, then don’t purchase it. If consumers reject goods that won’t protect them, then developers and retailers should soon find the message.”
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On cameras, Wood wrote: “Some toys and products are fitted with web cameras. The capability to view footage remotely is both their biggest selling feature and, if you’re not create correctly, potentially their biggest weakness, as the baby monitor hacking issue of a few a long time ago demonstrated. When you’ve got no goal of viewing footage over the internet, then turn the remote viewing option off within the device’s settings, otherwise use strong, non-default passwords.”
Concerning locations settings in Christmas toys 2011, he added: “One within the main selling points of children’s smart watches could be the ability for parents to find out where their children have a all times. However, that’s done securely, then others could possibly have entry to this data in the process. Immediately dispose of default location tracking and GPS settings and set strong, different passwords.”