(Web Desk) – The FBI has warned parents that hi-tech toys that can connect to the internet contain the dangers of spying on their children.
US security agency issued a public service announcement that smart toys can lead to security risks by disclosing personal information through GPS, microphones, and cameras, The Telegraph reported.
The toys can collect the child s name, school, preferences, and activities when conversing with the toy or talking near it which can be used for criminal purposes.
“The collection of a child s personal information combined with a toy s ability to connect to the internet or other devices raises concerns for privacy and physical safety,” according to the statement issued by FBI.
The toys are able to record conversations and gather personal information like the child’s name, parents’ names, location, etc. this poses an imminent threat to safety and security of families.
The concerns are not unfounded. Cyber criminals hacked VTech in 2015 and accessed the details of more than 6.4 million children from 15 countries. Fisher-Price s Smart Toy Bear, one of the most popular children s toys of Christmas 2015, was found to have a problem that could have given hackers personal details about a child.
Fears were also raised about a new interactive Barbie that can listen to children.
Before purchasing a connected toy, parents should examine the firm s user agreement disclosures and privacy practices, and understand where data is sent and stored and confirm if it’s not shared with third parties.
Parents are advised to monitor the activities of their children and never leave them unattended with devices that connect to the internet.
Additional ways to keep children safe when using smart toys, the FBI said, include making sure the latest security updates are always applied, look for products that use end-to-end encryption and only connect devices to secure internet networks, such as home Wi-Fi.