Welcome to the FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against Internet-connected toys.
This holiday season will bring stockings hung by the chimney with care… but you should give serious thought to the toys that you might find in there. New-fangled gadgets—including dolls, robots and the like—are now coming with “smart” technology to entrance the little tyke. Personalization is key, and that means learning what your kid is all about. This can lead to serious privacy invasion, make no doubt. Tommy’s new toy may capture his likes and locations with voice recognition… GPS, microphones, and video recording are all part of the proposition. Samara’s big gift may soon know where she lives, goes to school, and plays in the park
And it can send that info to back to the company, leaving you in the dark.
Parents, we’ve given you plenty of reason. Now, it’s time to get serious about keeping your kids safe this holiday season. So how do you do it?
- First, research the toy and its manufacturer. Check to see if any hackers have successfully breached the company’s database in the past and try to determine the level of security the corporation uses to protect its customers.
- Second, turn on all possible internal security devices. If a password or even dual encryption option is available, use it. Likewise, if the company offers an update or software patch, install it immediately to protect against possible hacking vulnerabilities. Also, make sure any WiFi system connected to the toy is equally secure.
- Third, read all disclosure statements offered by the company in order to understand the purpose and destination of the information being collected.
- Finally, monitor the use of the toy. When not in use, turn the toy off completely to avoid automatic systems, such as GPS or voice recording, from continuing to collect data.
And with that parents, this holiday season you, too, can make sure that you bring safe and secure toy joy to your little girl and boy.
The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.
To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II