Internet-connected toys can pose privacy risks

Consumer Reports recommends entering fake information

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SAN ANTONIO – Consumer Reports is warning parents to be careful with Internet-connected toys.

With toys that can connect with Bluetooth, parents and children can record and send messages to each other through the Internet using an app.

A security researcher in February warned toymaker Spiral Toys, that its servers were not adequately protected, leaving user emails and passwords vulnerable to hackers.

"Exposing personal data could put you at risk for identity theft or even credit card fraud down the road," Consumer Reports cyber security editor Bree Fowler said. "And the worst case scenario, though very remote, is that the information could be used in a child abduction."

In 2015, a hacker attacked toymaker Vtech, exposing profiles of more than 6 million children, including names, genders and birth dates and even more detailed profiles of about 5 million adults.

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced its reviewing privacy and security complaints of Internet-connected toys i-Que robot and My Friend Cayla, which has been banned in Germany.

Fowler said parents should consider playing it safe by entering fake names and birthdays, or don't buy the toys.


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