Thieves could use children’s toys to steal personal data

Posted at 12:05 AM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 00:05:30-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- More and more kid’s toys include fancy technology that can connect to Wi-Fi and collect and store personal data about your kids, like addresses, birthdays, and gender.

A good way to know if you’re looking at a toy that could be vulnerable to hackers is to see if it requires a Wi-Fi connections.

Hackers could exploit cyber-security weaknesses and gain access to your family’s wireless network.

U.S. Senator Mark Warner is concerned about that, so he is urging the Federal Trade Commission to work with Congress to make sure kids’ personal information is protected.

“Over the past few years, security researchers have uncovered some startling vulnerabilities in a wide variety of connected toys,” Sen. Warner wrote in his letter to the FTC.

In the letter, Sen. Warner pointed out that recent data breach at Hong Kong-based toymaker V-Tech meant hackers stole information belonging to more than six million children.

The company makes tablets marketed to kids.

“These connected devices present a risk to parents’ data and security as well, as hackers may begin to see connected toys as the weak-link in a family’s home network,” Sen. Warner wrote.

Fravere Thompson, whose son is eight, said he stays away from so called “smart toys.”

“You never know who might get a hold of that he could be talking about important information or addresses and stuff like that and somebody could come along and take it,” Thompson said.

Warner, a Co-Chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus is now spearheading a bipartisan proposal to establish a National Commission on Security and Technology Challenges, which would bring together stakeholders and experts to examine issues related to privacy and digital security and make recommendations to Congress.

Below is Sen. Warner's full letter to the FTC

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