Christmas is fast approaching, parents are heading to the stores to purchase Christmas gifts for their children.
But this year parents are being warned to be more cautious when buying electrical toys for their children. This warning came about after consumer watchdog Which criticised retailers for selling some popular toys that have security issues.
Electrical toys include Furby Connect, the I-que robot, cloudpets and Toy-FI TEDDY. Which reviewed these toys and found that the toys could easily be connected to another device through Bluetooth. This means that any device within physical range could connect to the toy and take control or even send messages. However, manufacturer Hasbro, which makes Furby Connect said in a statement it believed:"the results of the tests carried out for Which had been achieved in very specific conditions."
A similar incident happened back in February in Germany with the discovery of a talking doll called Cayla which could reveal personal data. Hackers used an un-secure Bluetooth device to listen and talk to the child playing with it.
Genysis Toys who manufacturer the doll say what happened in Germany is an isolated incident, but other retailers say they need to make sure that it stays that way. Concerns have been raised that its possible for the toy to be hacked to say a number of offensive things to the child playing with it and it allows strangers to speak directly to children. The vulnerability in Cayla’s software was first revealed in January 2015, although it took the company a whole month to take action and urge parents to get rid of the toy.
According to Alex Neil, managing director of home products and services at Which “...a level of caution” should be taken when buying electronic toys.
I-que maker Vivid Imagination said they would review Which’s recommendations but stated they had: “no reports of these products being used in a malicious way.”
Which also tested other toys such as Wowee Chip, Mattel Hello Barbie and Fisher Price Smart Toy Bear but found no serious security concerns.
With the ongoing development of technologic toys, they are becoming more advanced than ever before with toys such as the Cloudpets being able to record and send greetings through phone apps.
Every year, electronic toys that move or talk are becoming more and more popular. Parents are often given warnings when buying any sort of toy and there have been reports made by buyers of the toys mentioned in the review.
Hacking fears remain but retailers stress that enough is done to ensure the safety of the products they sell.
The question still remains for consumers what are you buying your child?