Smart toys have big security flaws, consumer group finds

The Cloud Pets cuddly toys Furby Connect I Que Intelligent Robot and Toy-fi Teddy can all be hacked researchers have found

They found that there is no authentication required to link some toys with devices via Bluetooth.

Argos, which sells the Furby Connect and I-Que Intelligent Robot, said in a statement to IT Pro: "We haven't received any complaints about these products but we are in close contact with the manufacturers, who are already looking into these recommendations".

While a Bluetooth connection only works within 12 metres or so, there are ways to access them from a greater distance.

With each of these toys, the Bluetooth connection had not been secured, meaning the researcher did not need a password, pin or any other authentication to gain access.

Tests revealed that four out of seven of some of the most popular IoT toys could be hacked in a way that let strangers manipulate built-in voice modules to communicate with a child.

Vivid Imaginations, the distributors of Genesis Toys' I-Que robot, responded similarly.

Some toys on the shelves this year may have security flaws that leave them vulnerable to hacking and could put children at risk, a consumer group suggests.

"While it may be technically possible for a third party to connect to the toys, it requires a certain sequence of events to happen in order to pair a Bluetooth device to the toy, all of which make it hard for the third party to remotely connect to the toy".

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"Connected toys are becoming increasingly popular, but as our investigation shows, anyone considering buying one should apply a level of caution".

Connected toys keep getting released, and at this time of year there's a good chance that a lot of them will end up getting purchased.

But it confirmed the toys fully comply with the Toy Safety Directive and European standards, adding: "Whilst some of these reports highlight potential vulnerability in the products, there have been no reports of these products being used in a malicious way". But, tech experts said it wouldn't be impossible for hackers to extend Bluetooth range.

The I-Que Intelligent Robot (left) has previously featured on Hamleys top toys Christmas list.

Which? has called for all connected toys with known privacy or security issues to be taken off sale before parents begin their Christmas shopping.

Hasbro, the maker of Furby Connect, said that despite Which?'s research showing otherwise, it is "confident in the way we have designed both the toy and the app to deliver a secure play experience".

It said: 'The circumstances in which these investigations have taken place rely on a flawless set of circumstances and manipulation of the toys and the software, that make the outcome highly unlikely in reality'.

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