The Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center has recently released a public service announcement urging parents to "consider cyber security prior to introducing smart, interactive, internet-connected toys into their homes."
"These toys typically contain sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage components, and other multimedia capabilities – including speech recognition and GPS options. These features could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that may be unwittingly disclosed," wrote the Internet Crime Complaint arm of the FBI.
During the past few years, threats from interactive toys have increased immensely. Interactive or smart toys ranging from dolls to stuffed animals to cars, all have been detected to have security flaws and vulnerabilities that could lead to disastrous outcomes. The potential threats include accessing the camera or voice recordings or an attacker talking to children through the toy and many such cases.
Additionally, the flaws in the mechanism for storing personal data in the cloud or on some remote server could also prove to be fatal, if those data information get compromised.
The FBI release also asked the parents to check and research the cybersecurity aspects of the toys and very carefully inspect privacy terms of service as well as only use secure WI-FI to connect the toys to the Internet.